Brandon Williams proved a point with his excellent performance for Manchester United against Wolves.
Now the question is whether he will be handed a start against Manchester City, or if he will be back on the bench?
Williams’ performances this season have followed a familiar pattern. In for one game, then on the bench or in the stands for the next.
He has made 10 starts in total – but he has never started two games in a row.
Now there is a big case for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to break that trend.
Throw out caution
Solskjaer’s decision making has been to exercise caution with Williams. The same has been the case for fellow youngster Mason Greenwood.
But one thing is pretty clear right now: Brandon Williams is Manchester United’s best left-back.
He is more of a threat in attack, and in recent games he has been better defensively.
United have kept two clean sheets in the last three games. He has started both of them, away from home too, and we lost the match he sat out.
The last four games Williams has started, United have not conceded a goal. He appears to have focused and answered questions about his defensive qualities which surfaced after the Aston Villa draw on December 1.
Tuesday’s fixture at home to City in the Carabao Cup is important. It’s the semi-final first leg and a good result is essential to take to The Etihad.
Williams deserves to keep his place, even if it means starting two games in four days.
We wrote last week that Solskjaer needs to adopt a gung-ho fearless approach that he did in his early games as United boss. Starting Williams against City would be a step in the right direction.
The most likely alternative is for United to revert to Luke Shaw, who was not even on the bench at Molineux.
Shaw started away at City in the 2-1 win last month, but his form has been poor since. He was especially bad in the 2-0 loss at Arsenal on New Year’s Day.
Solskjaer’s plan might be to play Shaw against City, and bring Williams back in at home to Norwich next weekend. But there’s a strong case for him to flip this, and make Williams a starter on Tuesday night.
Shaw is not in the team on performance, he’s there on reputation, which is fast diminishing. Williams’ excellent and competent displays make him look ordinary. United are unbeaten with Williams in the starting line-up this season.
His aggressive yet controlled play is perfect for a derby game. He has a real edge about him and he will be up for the challenge with no complaints of tiredness.
We hope Williams gets the start this week, but it would require Solskjaer to break a habit and start him in two games in a row.
With the matches so close together, it’s a big ask, but we are confident the teenager is up to the job. Even if it turns out he is not, he fully deserves the opportunity.
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