Manchester United might have a new player in their best starting XI

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Manchester United might have a new player in their best starting XI

Once more, a replacement player from Erik ten Hag’s squad played exceptionally well in an important match for Manchester United.

This seems to be happening frequently, with notable performances from Marcus Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho, and Antony in recent games. This trend continued after the Christmas break.

However, it is uncommon for a substitute defender to be considered a “super sub.” That changed during the League Cup final against Newcastle on Sunday, where a benched defender stood out in United’s victory.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka demonstrated his importance as a top player in just under 48 minutes, including stoppage time.

He impressively defended against players such as Gabriel Martinelli, Phil Foden, and Sergi Roberto in recent weeks, making him a player that should always be included in the starting lineup.

It was unfortunate that he didn’t start in the cup final, as Diogo Dalot was chosen by Erik ten Hag, despite being on the bench for both Europa League games against Barcelona.

Dalot has struggled to secure a starting spot in the team due to Wan-Bissaka’s excellent performance, and has only played the full 90 minutes in one of his last four starts.

Ten Hag’s decision to choose Dalot over Wan-Bissaka suggested an attacking approach, but Allan Saint-Maximin of Newcastle kept Dalot busy with defensive duties. Saint-Maximin created the first scoring opportunity of the final by tricking Dalot on the touchline and shooting on goal, which was saved by David de Gea.

Dalot received a yellow card for a challenge on Saint-Maximin in the 9th minute, and Ten Hag did not want to risk him getting sent off in the second half.

Therefore, it was not surprising to see Wan-Bissaka substituted in at half-time, and he made a significant impact. Saint-Maximin was Newcastle’s most dangerous player, but despite his quick footwork and turns, he was unable to beat Wan-Bissaka even once before being taken off in the 78th minute.

Despite only playing for half the game, Wan-Bissaka managed to make seven tackles, which was more than any other player on the pitch. This performance was impressive and equalled N’Golo Kante’s tackle record during the 2019 League Cup final, despite playing 75 fewer minutes than Kante.

In addition, Wan-Bissaka had a 77% successful passing rate, completing 10 of his 13 attempted passes, and even attempted a shot that was blocked.

His excellent performance showed no signs of him having played for only four minutes before the World Cup.

This performance highlights an impressive comeback by the defender, who was close to leaving the team during the summer transfer window but was unable to secure a move. Injuries and illnesses had disrupted his first half of the season, and the World Cup break provided a much-needed reset for him.

After his impressive performance, Wan-Bissaka has cemented his position as a crucial starter for Manchester United, who have six games to play before March’s international break.

His composure and level-headedness were evident in the team’s most significant game of the season so far, and even Ten Hag would have taken notice of his talent.

Despite previous doubts about Wan-Bissaka’s future at the club, the Manchester United boss has consistently maintained that he is an important player for the team, and the past two months have proved exactly why.

Manchester United might have a new player in their best starting XI

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