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Wan-Bissaka has stepped up to Erik ten Hag challenge to solve Man Utd problem

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If you had suggested over your Christmas Day meal that Aaron Wan-Bissaka would be the starting right-back against Manchester City, Arsenal and Barcelona (twice), you would have been laughed out of the dining room. But now, as some of us scoop up the leftover pancakes from Shrove Tuesday, we can judge that his 16 post-World Cup appearances have all been justified. No flash in the pan was his assist for United’s opener in their 4-2 victory over Burnley in the first game back from the mid-season break. He has started 12 games since the victory over the Clarets and tallied nine clean sheets in that interim. The post-Qatar injuries sustained by Diogo Dalot allowed Wan-Bissaka to have a clear run at the right-back slot but the now-fit Portugal international is struggling to get a firm grip back in the side. READ MORE: Rashford and Martial injury updates ahead of Carabao Cup final The Englishman’s form is actually solving a problem for his manager, too. Wan-Bissaka seemed destined for the exit door over the summer as United tried to find suitors. None came and illness and injury meant the defender was offered just four minutes of football in the first half of the season. The consensus was that his days at United were numbered with Ten Hag surely needing to dip into the market for competition for the improved Dalot. The mid-season break undoubtedly allowed the unique opportunity of a reset for Wan-Bissaka and the defender has grasped hold of his time back in the first-team. Not only is he now providing competition for Dalot, he’s somewhat usurped him in recent weeks. Dalot played just 23 minutes across both ties against Barcelona, albeit has started the last three league games. Both stars are now battling with each other for game time, which is exactly what Ten Hag wanted. Amid Wan-Bissaka’s non-inclusions earlier in the campaign, Ten Hag sent a challenge to the 25-year-old. Speaking at the start of September, he said: “Aaron showed in the past that he is a constant factor at United. “What I heard and what I noticed from the past, he is a good option. He’s been training and needs to compete for the position.” Wan-Bissaka is completing that task. What is even more promising for Ten Hag, both right-backs offer different attributes. Dalot is more forward-minded having scored once and assisted three more while Wan-Bissaka has defensively dealt with the attacking threat of Sergi Roberto, Phil Foden and Gabriel Martinelli expertly in crunch games. The full-back has his confidence back and it is no longer a dead cert that he will exit this summer. He may even be granted a start in Sunday’s League Cup final against Newcastle – it would be the first time he’d play at Wembley in front of a packed house after doing so behind closed doors in the 2020 FA Cup semi-final loss to Chelsea. By Easter, as long as doesn’t leave himself with egg on his face, he could be United’s firm first-choice right-back if his current form trajectory continues. READ NEXT: Erik ten Hag questions Newcastle time-wasting Everything Erik ten Hag said in Carabao Cup final press conference Why Antony came on at half-time vs Barcelona Sir Alex’s passionate reaction to Antony winner Manchester United news homepage Story SavedYou can find this story in  My Bookmarks.Or by navigating to the user icon in the top right.

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