One Manchester United new summer recruit whose initial contributions have been swept under the carpet in recent weeks is Tyrell Malacia.
The Dutchman’s arrival was not filled with the usual hype and it happened so fast that fans were left in shock. But the full-back from Feyenoord was a specific request from Erik ten Hag who was a big admirer from his Ajax days.
And while his start was slow, he soon showed his ability on the pitch and made five straight starts in the Premier League following Luke Shaw‘s horror show in the opening two games.
But a disappointing performance against Manchester City saw him lose his place and he has had to do with a one appearance in an unfamiliar right-back position in the league since.
Malacia was solid initially
Apart from on-pitch heroics, Malacia has helped hugely in Shaw regaining his hunger and appetite. He has pushed the Englishman all the way, which has brought out the best in Shaw consistently.
He has also shown his versatility, playing at right-back on a couple of occasions and even doubling up as a centre-back for his national team.
To be successful, every club needs such team players willing to sacrifice for the good of the side and never complaining about the cards they are dealt with.
Got to say fair play to this lad.
Never started a game before the WC, even when he was available Erik played Malacia RB vs Fulham.
The boy didn’t complain, or even say a bad word. Kept on training hard every single day & is now delivering to a high standard. Team player.👏 pic.twitter.com/GeoxgxPxHj
— 𝗧𝗲𝗻 𝗛𝗮𝗴’𝘀 𝗥𝗲𝗱𝘀 ✍🏼🇳🇱 (@TenHagBalI) December 28, 2022
Ten Hag has spoken out about his love for players who have the positional awareness and discipline to occupy multiple positions in a team.
Despite being picked in the Dutch national team for the World Cup, the 23-year-old failed to play a single minute and returned fresh for club duty.
He has started in both post World Cup games for United in his favoured left-back slot and has impressed with his ferocious displays.
And the Dutch full-back revealed how frustrating an experience it was to stay out of the starting line-up.
Malacia making a difference both on the pitch & in training
“It is of course difficult when you are not allowed minutes,” he told ViaPlay, relayed by Voetbal Primeur.
“You keep hoping every game and you do your best at training. You try to support the team as much as possible, but it’s definitely difficult.
“I want to play every game, so yes, it’s definitely hard when you sit there for so many weeks and you don’t play. Sure, I’ve had a moment of I’m through for a while.
“But you always have to recover. You never know if you have to be there. You always have to be ready.”
Malacia has made a total of 17 appearances in all competitions, starting in 14 of them. Not the worst stats to have in your debut season in the Premier League.
And now that he is back, hopefully, Malacia can push Shaw all the way, something that can only be positive for United going forward.
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