In an end-to-end encounter between Canada and Croatia in the Qatar World Cup group stages, Tajon Buchanan stood out as a man whose career could be well worth watching, particularly for Manchester United.
The 23-year-old was deployed on the right-hand side of a front three and his direct dribbling and decisive play was a constant threat to his opponent’s defence.
Much like Alfonso Davies on the opposite flank, Buchanan often plays further forward for his country than he does for his club.
His time in the MLS saw him play mostly as a right back or right wingback, marauding up the pitch to support attacks.
Since moving to Club Brugge in January of this year, he has played in just about every outfield position on the pitch – even centre half.
That versatility has been an important facet of his development, as he has shown his willingness to do whatever task is required of him on the pitch.
It was something that was clear to see against Croatia. Buchanan did as good a job making Croatian left back Borna Sosa’s life a living hell as he did helping to halt any of Ivan Perisic’s attempts to threaten the Canadian defence.
In the early stages of the match, the flank belonged to Buchanan.
His assist for Canada’s opener was a perfect display of his love of a stepover, his attacking threat, and his ability to put a ball on a plate, with his cross converted by Alfonso Davies.
Buchanan’s impact on the right wing was so prevalent that Kovacic and Brozovic both had to shuffle out to his side in order to stifle his involvement both in and out of possession.
During the second half, Canada made full use of his versatility, playing him at right back, on the left wing, and later up front as they sought an equaliser against the Croatians.
While the speedster’s adaptability is commendable, his skillset would suggest that, like compatriot Davies, he is set for a career as an attacking fullback. The combination of tenacity and trickery make him the very picture of the modern wingback.
With Man United currently lacking any viable competition for Diogo Dalot’s position in the team, it would be no surprise to see Red Devils scouts taking a keen interest in Buchanan going forward.
He may not yet have the pedigree of Bayern Munich’s left back but, under the right circumstances, he could become just as exciting a player for a top club.
The onus will be on Buchanan to nail down a settled position in Bruges before he makes the step up, but he is certainly one to watch out for.
Canada may be out of the World Cup, but you haven’t heard the last of Tajon Buchanan.