Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s career at Manchester United has been up and down.
When he first arrived, he was considered to be a bright spark in the team. But over time, his limitations became more prevalent, and he was eventually displaced by Diogo Dalot.
We’re now at a point where he is beginning to command more respect. Amid a ton of injury problems at the back, Wan-Bissaka was brought back into the starting XI for the FA Cup semi-final against Brighton & Hove Albion.
Up against a dazzling Kaoru Mitoma, the former Crystal Palace man produced a man-of-the-match display, keeping the Japan international quiet.
Leicester City playmaker James Maddison was full of praise for the right-back, calling him ‘the best in the world’ at one-on-one defending.
Not long ago, a return to Selhurst Park was touted for the 25-year-old. Some people are now calling for him to be given a shot in the England squad. But how likely is this shout?
Wan-Bissaka’s strengths and weaknesses are obvious – he’s a brilliant tackler and extremely difficult to dribble past. However, he has been criticised for his concentration, and he’s very limited with the ball at his feet.
The latter side of his game is something that has improved under Erik ten Hag. In time, he ought to become a far more adept ball-player.
But that still may not be enough to break into the England set-up, especially as a right-back. The Three Lions have arguably the best selection of right-backs in international football.
Kyle Walker, Reece James, Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold are all competing for minutes and are significantly ahead of Wan-Bissaka when it comes to playing out from the back.
Generally speaking, Wan-Bissaka isn’t a player that manager Gareth Southgate has fancied. Even when he was highly regarded a few years ago, he wasn’t given a cap, while the likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, James Justin and Kyle Walker-Peters earned some time on the pitch.
Southgate has never rated him that highly, and at least four players are ahead of him in the pecking order. By all accounts, he’s still a million miles off an England call-up. Is it hopeless to dream of a surprise 2024 European Championship inclusion? Well…
Ever since Southgate’s appointment, Walker has been a regular for the one-time world champions, starting 14 from a possible 19 at major tournaments under the 52-year-old.
While he is capable going forward, his recovery pace is often cited as one of the main reasons for his selection.
This recovery pace has proven to be essential to England’s system. Regular centre-back pairing John Stones and Harry Maguire aren’t exactly known for their swiftness and need cover if they wish to play higher up the pitch.
This is something that sets Wan-Bissaka aside from the other competitors. He’s the only other player who offers the speed that Southgate is looking for.
Walker will be 34 by the time Euro 2024 comes around, and it’s possible that his pace will fade in the next 14 months. If Southgate decides to move him on, Wan-Bissaka is the most like-for-like replacement.
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