Gary Neville has said Aaron Wan-Bissaka is a “throwback” as Manchester United’s right-back and does not need to be an attacking threat like Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold or Manchester City’s Kyle Walker for the club to be successful.
Alexander-Arnold and Walker are recognised for their forward play but Neville, a former United right-back and captain, believes Wan-Bissaka is a better defender than either and that this should be the former Crystal Palace player’s focus.
“Aaron Wan-Bissaka is a fantastic defensive right-back and there are teams in the past who have won in different ways,” said Neville. “The idea that because Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kyle Walker are two of the most outstanding attacking full-backs in Europe [should] mean that Manchester United have to have one of the most outstanding attacking full-backs in Europe is not the case.
“I’ve seen [Branislav] Ivanovic, [César] Azpilicueta be successful in the Premier League [for Chelsea] over the past five, 10 years and they have been very different full-backs to the ones I’ve mentioned. My view with Aaron Wan-Bissaka is that he should focus on his defending and become a brilliant Manchester United full-back who [helps] keep clean sheets.”
Wan-Bissaka can be isolated, though. “The only other thing he should do is try and create a relationship with his right-winger whereby he can serve that player well and he can serve his central midfielder player well,” Neville, a Sky Sports pundit, said.
“What I mean is roll passes at the right weight, to the right side of the player’s feet so the attack can start. Maybe then the other things, like the overlap he may produce to open space for people, is something he could add.
“Manchester United have invested £50m in him – my view would be, he gets left isolated in what’s a big pitch at Old Trafford. He needs that option in front of him to his right, inside to left and a diagonal one into his striker. Whether it was Beckham, Keane or Yorke, or whether it would be Carrick, Ronaldo and Rooney, I always had those three options.
“I knew where they were and I was feeding it into them. I’m serving the attack. It’s a bit of an old-fashioned approach because nowadays full-backs are expected to be wingers, score goals, set up goals, take free-kicks and penalties; well, this is a little bit of a throwback. This is a defensive full-back who is very different and I don’t think we have to try and say he needs to be something different. Maybe Manchester United’s next signing is a real attacking left-back.”
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