Manchester United travel to Crystal Palace tonight, marking Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s return to his former club.
The Englishman arrived from the Eagles last summer for £50m, quickly becoming a fan favourite around Old Trafford. Since joining, Wan-Bissaka has provided a solution to a long-standing issue in United’s side, offering his consistent services in that right-back spot.
Only Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof have featured in more minutes than the young defender this season, with Wan-Bissaka asserting his name as one of the first on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team-sheet.
It’s certainly been a story of a rise to stardom for the 22-year-old, who has been speaking about returning back to where it all started.
In an interview with United’s official site, he said: “It’s going to be a bit strange, you know, as I have not been back in a while. Especially without there being any fans there, it will be a new experience but we want to go there and get the victory. Palace mean a lot to me. They are the team that brought me through the system and, without them, I don’t think I’d be here. They’ve given me chances to show what I am capable of doing.”Embed from Getty Images
Wan-Bissaka joined the South London club as an 11-year-old back in 2009, coming through the ranks before making his senior debut in 2018. During this time, the right-back formed a close relationship with former United winger Wilfred Zaha.
The latter is known for his tricky skillset and 1v1 ability, making him the perfect training opponent. Wan-Bissaka has paid praise to Zaha for helping mould him into the defender he is today, stating: “Training against Wilf, I think he sort of prepared me for what it is like playing in the Premier League. I learned a lot from him. He’s an unpredictable player and tests like that are ones that made me a better player.”
Averaging 3.8 tackles per game in the Premier League this season, the right-back has grown to become one of the best defensive figures in the country. Jamie Carragher labelled the youngster as the best ‘one v one defender in world football’ earlier on in the campaign, with such a statement holding justification.
A year on after leaving Selhurst Park, Wan-Bissaka will return to his former club as a much more complete defender, and hopefully with plenty of motivation to put in another vintage performance. It’s a must win game for United, who will qualify for the Champions League by winning all their remaining fixtures.