Tyrell Malacia is confident of dislodging Luke Shaw as Manchester United’s No 1 left-back after his €15m (£12.9m) transfer from Feyenoord.
The 22-year-old made his debut on Tuesday in the 4-0 win against Liverpool at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium, coming on as part of Erik ten Hag’s second-half team.
Beyond Shaw, the manager has Alex Telles, Diogo Dalot and Brandon Williams who can operate at left-back. Yet Malacia aims to be Ten Hag’s first choice. He was asked specifically about usurping Shaw.
“There are some good left-backs here – Telles, Brandon, Luke, me, so you have to work hard and prove ourselves in training and in the end the coach will make a decision,” Malacia said. “Of course [I am] always [confident]. It’s everybody’s aim. You always want to play, so you have to work hard for it.”
Against Liverpool Malacia displayed his pace and ability to tackle sharply. “My defence is good, my attacking, my technique is good, so I’m looking forward to playing,” Malacia said. “Of course I like to attack, I think that’s one of the reasons why he [Ten Hag] brought me here, so I have to prove to everyone why I’m here.
“He wants to attack with the left-back and right-back. I’m happy that I made my debut and that we got the win. I already feel like I’m home, they made me feel like I’m home already, so I’m happy. Of course it’s a big difference playing for United against Liverpool. I wanted this all my life, I worked hard for it, so I have to work harder now.”
Malacia has talked about United with Robin van Persie, a fellow Dutchman who starred in United’s last title triumph nine years ago and is a coach at Feyenoord.
“I spoke with him about United and his time in the Premier League – about some great memories, some good stories, so it’s always good, positive,” he said.
Malacia has not spoken to Louis van Gaal, his head coach with the Netherlands, regarding World Cup selection despite the former United manager advising Ajax’s Jurrien Timber his place might have been under threat if he had signed for United. Ten Hag targeted the defender but Timber stayed at Ajax.
“No, I didn’t speak to him,” Malacia said. “In the end the coach will make the decision, so we will see.”
July 14, 2022 at 03:32AM Jamie Jackson in Bangkok