Manchester United’s three most improved players under Ralf Rangnick

Ralf Rangnick’s work with his Manchester United squad was interrupted by a Covid break but there have still been some improvements.

Some players have been handed a new lease of life by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s departure and will look to build on that going into 2022 and we have taken a look at three of them…

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Fred

In fairness, Fred’s improvement began under Michael Carrick, who really tried to make the most of the Brazilian’s ability to press higher up the pitch and break up play.

That seemed to suit him and it always looked likely that Rangnick’s high-energy style would be a good match too and so it has proved.

RONALDO NEEDS TO STOP WHINING.

He got the first goal of the Rangnick era with a stunning right foot strike against Crystal Palace, sparking wild celebrations.

A more front-foot approach suits Fred and you get the impression that Rangnick will simplify his role and lay down greater tactical structure around him, which could see him have a good 2022.

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Alex Telles

Luke Shaw has endured some poor form after coming back from Euro 2020 but Solskjaer kept playing the Englishman through that.

Rangnick has put his faith in Telles, not least by not rushing Shaw back at the first opportunity, and he has been repaid.

The German has used a narrow 4-2-2-2 system so far and that relies on the full backs to create the width, which suits Telles down to the ground.

He is currently the man in possession of the left-back slot in the side and his driving runs down that flank as well as his tenacity can make sure he keeps it.

United fans did not get to see the best of Telles under Solskjaer, but the early signs in the Rangnick reign are better already.

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Diogo Dalot

Aaron Wan-Bissaka was another seemingly undroppable player under Solskjaer, but he has been struggling with injury and Rangnick did not play him through it like his predecessor may have done.

Dalot has had his chance and performed impressively, with a marked improvement on his performance in the 2-1 Champions League win over Villarreal under Solskjaer in October.

Like Telles, being relied on to bomb on and provide width in that narrow system suits him and his attacking play is far superior to Wan-Bissaka’s.

Dalot has struggled to nail down a spot in United’s first team since his arrival in June 2018 under Jose Mourinho but now might be the time.

He has some work to do defensively, but the question for Rangnick is whether the Portuguese can improve his defensive work more quickly than Wan-Bissaka can get better going forward.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.