Alex Telles deserves to keep his place ahead of Luke Shaw and the numbers prove it
Alex Telles has started in five of Manchester United’s last six games, rotated out of the side for the non-event fixture against Young Boys last week.
For the last five matches which mattered, Telles has started them all, and despite Shaw’s assist in the Champions League, Telles is building a convincing case to stay as Manchester United’s number one left-back.
Telles key to United defensive improvement
Telles has waited a long time for a chance, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer overlooking him despite wretched form from Shaw. The Brazilian is now benefitting from an extended run in the side.
United have kept clean sheets in three of the seven total games Telles has started this season. Shaw kept only two clean sheets in 16 matches.
Telles has a 42 per cent clean sheet ratio, compared with Shaw’s 12.5 per cent clean sheet rate.
Individual numbers impressive
Don’t think Telles has just got lucky coming in after Solskjaer’s exit. His performances have been key to United’s recent improvement, with the defence well rid of Shaw, who was at fault for goals conceded against Everton and Liverpool.
Numbers from FBRef.com show Alex Telles has made 18 tackles this season, five more than Luke Shaw, who has played in seven more Premier League games.
Telles and Shaw are level on interceptions with nine each, with the Brazilian playing just five league games to Shaw’s 12.
For combined tackles and interceptions, Telles has 27, the seventh highest in Manchester United’s squad this season.
Telles has made 12 clearances to Shaw’s 13, in fewer games.
The one area Shaw has the edge so far this season is with his passing. He has three assists, while Telles is yet to register one.
Telles the man in possession
Telles has earned the right to stay in Manchester United’s starting line-up. The £13.6 million signing from Porto has had to play second fiddle to Shaw ever since he joined.
His arrival led to an upturn in form for Shaw, the best spell of his career, but after his performances nosedived earlier this season, the England international deserved to be dropped.
Telles has come in and not put a foot wrong. United supporters were unsure whether the Brazilian had the defensive ability to succeed, and over the past few weeks he has proven himself.
It felt a little odd earlier in the season that Shaw was recalled after injury right after the Villarreal game, in which Telles scored a fantastic volley. Shaw went onto commit an error against Everton which cost the team a win, and suffered no repercussions, continuing to retain his place.
Now it is Telles who deserves to continue his run as first choice left-back. Shaw has the ability to improve and get back to his best, but he will have to earn it. Manager Ralf Rangnick won’t just give him the spot based on reputation and favouritism like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did.
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