Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has admitted that Aaron Wan-Bissaka will never have the same offensive qualities as Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, but insists the 22-year-old should focus on his own defensive capabilities.
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Wan-Bissaka joined United from Crystal Palace in the summer of 2019 for a fee of £49.5m, as per TransferMarkt and has since gone onto feature an impressive 46 times in all competitions for the Reds.
The Englishman’s most impressive performance in a United shirt arguably came in the Manchester Derby back in December when he totally nullified attacking sensation Raheem Sterling.
Ex-United right-back Neville believes it was those kind of defensive masterclasses that Wan-Bissaka should be focusing on amid wide-spread comparisons to rival Alexander-Arnold.
Neville believes that United’s number 29 should put all his efforts into stopping goals rather than trying to create them.
Speaking live on Sky Sports as quoted by The Mirror, Neville said: “Aaron Wan-Bissaka should focus on his defending and become a brilliant Manchester United full back defensively, who keeps clean sheets.
“That’s No.1, and he should focus on that.
“The idea that you are going to make Aaron Wan-Bissaka into Trent Alexander-Arnold or Kyle Walker is never going to happen.
“So let’s concentrate on how he can support Manchester United becoming a winning team. There is more than one way to win a football match.
“The idea that because Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kyle Walker are two of the most outstanding attacking full backs in Europe means 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, Cesar Azpilicueta be successful in the Premier League over the past five, 10 years and they have been very different full backs to the ones I’ve mentioned.
“Manchester United have invested £50million in him, so rather than try and change him they have to work with what he does.
“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. This is a little bit of a throwback. I don’t think we have to try and say he needs to be something different.
“He’s an outstanding defensive right back – he could potentially be part of a back three – he’s a better defender than some of the attacking full backs, work on that.”
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is currently preparing his squad, including Wan-Bissaka to kick-start their Premier League campaign later today when they will host Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.
Solskjaer will be hoping Wan-Bissaka can emulate his defensive performances from last season later today when he goes up against ex-team mate and in-form Wilfried Zaha.
United will be hoping to take all three points away from Old Trafford after starting their domestic campaign a week later due to their participation in the latter stages of last season’s Europa League.