Aaron Wan-Bissaka is almost without fault as a defender. The one requirement to improve is in attack.
Last season, particularly in the second half of the campaign, Wan-Bissaka did improve.
He ended the season with five assists to Luke Shaw’s six, and he also managed to get onto the scoresheet twice.
Data from FBRef.com showed Wan-Bissaka completed 14 crosses last season from open play, while Shaw managed 16. Most of Shaw’s key passes came from set pieces.
Wan-Bissaka is taking steps in the right direction to improve his output, providing a cross for an Anthony Elanga goal in pre-season.
The real test for the £50 million full-back comes with the addition of Cristiano Ronaldo to the squad.
Ronaldo is one of the best headers of the ball in modern history. This was a part of his game going back to his previous United days, with memorable headers away at Roma and in the Champions League final versus Chelsea.
His heading ability was once again on show last week as he scored his 110th and 111th international goals for Portugal.
Now Ronaldo is at Manchester United, he needs to get the service in order to be productive.
Teams will attempt to place an onus on closing down Luke Shaw, and put pressure on Wan-Bissaka’s service.
The right-backs needs to ensure his deliveries are up to scratch for Ronaldo to score from.
We have seen Wan-Bissaka do it before. His cross at Stamford Bridge in February 2020 for Anthony Martial to score a header was a pinpoint delivery.
United backed Wan-Bissaka
If Wan-Bissaka can’t make the most of Ronaldo, Manchester United will find somebody else who can.
Diogo Dalot has been kept on and he would love the opportunity to try and link up with his compatriot.
The alternative midway through the season or next summer is to make a move for Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Trippier.
Dalot completed eight crosses for Milan in Serie A last season, while Trippier led Atletico Madrid with 15, per FBRef.
Wan-Bissaka’s 14 completed crosses are in the same area as Trippier, showing his improvement.
But what happens next is important. Wan-Bissaka has completed two crosses from open play into the penalty area so far this seasons in three matches (Luke Shaw remains on zero).
If he can link up with Ronaldo effectively then United’s decision to stick with him will be justified.
In the event he takes a step back, United will look to alternatives. Ronaldo may seem like he can go on forever, but Solskjaer can’t wait around, he has to maximise Ronaldo now.
Wan-Bissaka gets a deserved first crack to show he can provide Ronaldo with goalscoring chances.
Ronaldo’s arrival cranks up the pressure. Wan-Bissaka has to rise to the challenge.
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