How Aaron Wan-Bissaka Is Becoming an Important Attacking Option for Man Utd

Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Aaron Wan-Bissaka has looked sharp since the restart | Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Despite his young age, Aaron Wan-Bissaka has already built up a reputation as one of the hardest defenders to face off against in a one-on-one situation.

A defender who thrives off making tackles and winning the ball back, Wan-Bissaka has been a breath of fresh air at Manchester United.

Wan-Bissaka sits second in the list for most tackles made in the Premier League so far with 114 - which is even more impressive considering how much this United side keep the ball.

Pace, defensive awareness, maturity and one of the best tacklers around, it is hard to find many faults with the right back's game.

But one main criticism which has continued to be raised throughout the season revolves around his contributions going forward. As you know, the role of the modern full-back is about so much more than just defending, instead they must be capable of chipping in with goals and assists - as Trent Alexander-Arnold has been doing so effectively.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Leighton Baines
Wan-Bissaka has been criticised at times for his attacking output | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

However, Wan-Bissaka has at times looked lost in attack, not knowing whether to pass the ball in-field or to take his man on and whip in a cross. It is an area of his game which has needed improvement.

In fact, in United's 29 league games prior to the enforced break, Wan-Bissaka had contributed just the two assists.

But since the restart, United's number 29 has been a key contributor in attack, and it's clear to see the hard work and training that went into improving this area of his game during the three-month layoff. And the hard work has been paying off as well, with Wan-Bissaka picking up two assists in his side's four league games since play got back underway.

Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Wan-Bissaka has looked menacing in attack since the restart | Michael Regan/Getty Images

There was never an issue with his technique - but rather working on his positional play as well as his decision making.

And there has been a major improvements in each of these departments. Now looking confident when going forward, he's willing to commit his man and take him on - knowing that he has the pace and skill to get past him.

When he is getting into good positions now, rather than panicking and turning back, Wan-Bissaka is also producing high quality crosses and passes. This, mixed with his ball control and skill, has seen him become a real threat down the right for United.

His pinpoint low cross set up Anthony Martial to grab his second of the game in the Red Devils' win over Sheffield United recently. And while he wasn't able to register an assist last time out against Bournemouth, he was a constant threat all game.

It is worth noting that United's last three league matches have seen Mason Greenwood start on the right wing, rather than Daniel James - and this has also greatly benefited Wan-Bissaka. Greenwood looks to pick up pockets of space and come in off the right to pose a greater threat, whereas James looks to stay wide and take on the opposition's left back.

With James in the team, Wan-Bissaka doesn't have the space to get forward and influence the game. But with Greenwood ahead of him, the pair appear to complement each other very well, with Wan-Bissaka now getting forward and supplying the teenage sensation.

Daniel James
Daniel James likes to stay wide | Michael Steele/Getty Images

This could be seen for the forward's goal against Brighton. With Greenwood drifting into space, Wan-Bissaka looked up and played a perfectly weighted pass into his feet, allowing United's number 26 to turn and ruthlessly fire home.

Man Utd recently confirmed on their official website that no United player has covered more ground than Wan-Bissaka in the Red Devils' four league games since the restart - the defender running 43.4km in this time. Furthermore, no player has made more sprints (47) than Wan-Bissaka during these four games.

It's clear to see the hard work Wan-Bissaka has put in during the enforced break, coming back sharp and focused. It's important to remember that he is still just 22, yet he plays with a maturity well beyond his years.

Wan-Bissaka has proven time and time again already that he is one of the very best defensive full-backs around, but he has now begun to show that he can also be a major contributor to United's attack.

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