Having recently lost his starting position to Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia made a triumphant return during Manchester United’s 4-2 win over Aston Villa.
The former Feyenoord defender was recalled for the Carabao Cup match and put in an all-action performance.
Malacia coped well with his individual battles with John McGinn and later Emiliano Buendia, two players well accustomed to the physical battles that often characterise clashes between Premier League sides.
And unlike Luke Shaw on Sunday, he was rarely dragged out of position by the roaming of Unai Emery’s wide midfielders.
His disciplined performance was married with an enthusiasm that was backed up by the stats, with Malacia boasting impressive numbers.
He made five successful tackles – more than any player on the pitch – as he contained his opponents with aplomb.
By engaging in an incredible 17 duels ground duels, Malacia showed his determination to get stuck in and help his team in difficult situations.
The fact that he won nine of those duels could suggest that he still has improvements to make in terms of physicality, but it also demonstrates his willingness to fight for every ball.
Erik ten Hag will certainly be happy with Malacia’s work in possession, with the defender managing a whopping 96 touches as he continually made himself available to his teammates.
Only Victor Lindelof could boast a better passing accuracy as Malacia found a red shirt with a success rate of 90%.
And that was not due to a lack of ambition, as the Dutchman managed five accurate long balls and one successful cross, as well as two key passes.
Malacia’s positional intelligence, composure, and aggression were all on show at Old Trafford and it is easy to see why Ten Hag made him his first signing in the summer.
(All stats taken from SofaScore)