Robin van Persie has paid tribute to Manchester United defender Tyrell Malacia, who he played with at Feyenoord.

Malacia was Erik ten Hag’s first signing as manager, and it might have looked a slightly strange move to prioritise a new left-back with Luke Shaw and Alex Telles already in situ.

But it has quickly become clear that Malacia has the right type of personality to play for United, as a fearless competitor who does not give up.

Van Persie has told club media how impressed he has been with the 23-year-old, who is showing the same quality he saw when they were teammates in the Netherlands.

Van Persie Malacia
Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Robin van Persie pays tribute to Tyrell Malacia

He said: “I do believe, per window, [you have] to get a couple of the right players in, and Tyrell Malacia is one of them. He wasn’t really well known before he came. I played with him at Feyenoord, so I knew how good he was, and still is, and he is proving that every game.

“When it clicks and when it’s clear what to do, because clearly [there are] both full-backs – Diogo Dalot on the right side, you have Luke Shaw sometimes on the left, or Tyrell – you can see that they know exactly what to do in ball possession, as well when the opponent has the ball. He’s doing that so well and I’m so proud of him.

“He’s from my city. He’s from my club. He’s giving a lot of youngsters hope. He is now playing on the highest level and competing against the best. He’s not only giving youngsters here hope, he’s giving youngsters in Holland hope.

“Like, if you play well, there is a possibility that you can go really far, so that you end up playing for a team like Manchester United, and I’m just proud of him. I hope he keeps developing and improving and stays hungry to keep getting better every day.”

Shaw’s redeployment as a central defender at times has helped Malacia get gametime, where he can scamper forward from left-back.

He can still get better and better, but has adjusted well to the demands of English football and is the right kind of character Ten Hag wants.

Malacia has one trophy already to crown his maiden season in English football, and could end up with two more in the FA Cup and Europa League.

The Dutchman is currently away on international duty, with Ronald Koeman’s side set to face France and Gibraltar before the end of the month.

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