Alex Telles. Wow, what a debut. In just 66 minutes in Paris, the new Manchester United signing gave a demonstration of what he is capable of.
Telles created three chances, more than any player on the pitch. One of these came from an outstanding cross with his left foot from open play, which was just crying out for a powerhouse centre-forward to head into the net.
He almost set up two more goals with dangerous in-swinging corners from the right, with Scott McTominay connecting with both of them.
With Edinson Cavani and Harry Maguire still to come into the side, two strong headers of the ball, United could really capitalise on Telles’ strengths.
This is pretty new for United, at least in recent years. After just one game, Telles looks like he could be the club’s best crosser of the ball since David Beckham.
The Brazilian Beckham
United have lacked a player with Beckham’s crossing ability since he was sold to Real Madrid in 2003.
Beckham was crucial to United’s Treble success, with his two corners providing both goals against Bayern in 1999.
The former United number seven was one of a kind, and it’s understandable his rare talent has been hard to replicate.
United fans got a reminder of this when he returned to Old Trafford to play in a 1999 reunion game against Bayern last summer – and his crossing was still as pinpoint as ever.
Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t try to replicate Beckham with a like for like player. That was impossible. So he did something completely different, signing Cristiano Ronaldo, which worked out pretty well.
Since Ronaldo left, United ran into trouble. Antonio Valencia was solid, but a bit too predictable and tailed off after being challenged to wear the number seven shirt.
In the post Fergie era, United have got a lot wrong, and the struggle to find a good crosser of the ball has been real.
Bruno Fernandes’ corners were a big improvement on the deliveries put in before him.
And with the way he plays centrally, you don’t get to see Fernandes’ true quality of cross from open play very often.
Telles’ corners already look more dangerous than Fernandes’, and he should be a big asset for United.
You only need to look through the way he got his assists for Porto to see this display for United was no fluke.
His crosses are consistent, and they are of high quality. He rarely misses. That alone makes him worth the money United paid to sign him.
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