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Aaron Wan-Bissaka is facing his biggest challenge to impress Ralf Rangnick at Manchester United – Casey Evans



Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s future at Manchester United is becoming more and more uncertain. Under the previous manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he was the undisputed first-choice right-back, but that does not seem to be the case under Ralf Rangnick so far. However, it is early in the German’s tenure.

As Rangnick is deploying a 4-2-2-2 formation in his first few games as United manager, the full-backs are required to provide width going forward and act as another avenue for chance creation.

This has favoured Portuguese right-back Diogo Dalot more than Wan-Bissaka and seen him deployed in the position in both of Rangnick’s Premier League fixtures.

Dalot has shown he is better going forward, and when United want to try and dominate possession, they need a player who is more comfortable in it, and this is where Wan-Bissaka’s issue lies.

When United signed him, he was reportedly chosen from a list of 804 right-backs and with Solskjaer’s instance to sign Kieran Trippier last summer; this fact was brought into question.

But when Wan-Bissaka was signed, it may have been that the parameters were different. The English right-back was highly rated across the Premier League, and it was seen as a great signing at the time due to the defender’s great ball carrying numbers and one-on-one defending.

But his attributes were suited to a counter-attacking style of play, which works when you’re trying to reach the top four.

Still, as we’ve seen with Trent Alexander-Arnold at Liverpool, Reece James at Chelsea or Joao Cancelo at Manchester City, when you are aiming for the top spot and dominating games, the full-back positions just become another outlet in attack. The defensive work is secondary.

So what Wan-Bissaka needs to adapt his game to a new purpose in United’s system is to spend time both in training and in matches learning how to play a part under Rangnick.

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But as an interim manager, Rangnick isn’t blessed with time to adapt. He has been tasked with improving United’s form now, most likely with the players he has available to him now, barring maybe a limited number of arrivals in January. If Dalot fits the system immediately, he is likely to be Rangnick’s first choice.

This gives Wan-Bissaka a massive uphill battle in front of him, and if he is unable to improve his game, he may see himself slide further down the pecking order if United are to sign another right-back in January or summer.

Overall it will be a disappointing result for a highly talented player, which United spent £50 million to sign. Still, it just goes to show how United’s transfer strategy needs to change under Rangnick, as Wan-Bissaka improved United in the short term but may not have been signed with the long-term in mind.

Were you heading to the game this evening? Follow our United On My Mind writer Casey Evans on Twitter and get involved in the discussion in the comment section below.





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