Manchester United defender Alex Telles would have expected more starts by now. The left-back signed for £15.4million (BBC) but his impact has been seen less on the field and more on the form of teammate Luke Shaw.
In the eyes of many United fans, Telles was signed to replace the England man. Instead, his arrival has lit a fire under Shaw. To such an extent that the 25-year-old is now one of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s most important players.
Shaw was outstanding in United’s 9-0 win against Southampton last week. And he has long been one of the first names on the team-sheet.
So far Shaw has made 25 appearances in all competitions, including 18 in the league. In contrast, Telles has just 13 outings and only seven in the top flight.
Perhaps most telling of all, Shaw was taken off at half-time in that 9-0 drubbing after two assists but Telles was not the man to replace him. So the latter has work to do to convince Solskjaer he deserves more minutes.
That opportunity could come in the Europa League. After all, United are pushing hard for the Premier League and are well-placed for Champions League qualification next season.
That could leave Europe’s secondary competition as an opportunity for some of United’s fringe men to impress.
Calling the likes of Telles and Donny van de Beek fringe players shows how strong United are right now. But that is their current position and they must step up when they can.
Telles has plenty of European experience, having impressed in the Champions League for former club FC Porto. And that should ensure he gets the nod if United shake things up for the cup competition.
A chance to shine
Shaw will need a rest with the games coming thick and fast. and upcoming European clashes against Real Sociedad should see Telles step in.
The 28-year-old did not move to Old Trafford to sit on the bench. He came to make an impact and the Europa League could be the perfect stage.
If he does well there, more chances could follow domestically. Telles already has two assists in a United shirt and more should follow in the weeks ahead.
- Goalkeepers who have scored for Manchester United
- Anthony Martial returns to first team training
- Three early questions for Manchester United ahead of Europa League final
- Three relegated players Manchester United could try to sign
- Three questions for Manchester United ahead of Fulham game