Manchester United left-back Tyrell Malacia says he instantly got a feel for life at the club after he learned of his role against Liverpool.
The summer signing arrived at Old Trafford from Feyenoord as manager Erik ten Hag’s first signing. And the 23-year-old has enjoyed a fine start, keeping long-term left-back Luke Shaw out of the team.
In fact, after Shaw played the opening two Premier League games of the season for Man Utd, Malacia has featured ever since.
The defender especially caught the eye in United’s 2-1 win over Liverpool in August. Malacia’s passing and movement proved key in disturbing the Liverpool defence all game.
That was also his first Premier League start and has cemented his role in Ten Hag’s plans going forward.
Speaking to ESPN in the Netherlands, five-cap Dutchman Malacia insisted the clash with Liverpool got him instantly fired up for life at Man Utd. He also responded to praise from the likes of former United defender Rio Ferdinand.
“In the training week after the second game, I saw that I was in the starting XI and that I could start against Liverpool,” the full-back said. “What more could you want?”
“These are beautiful words, I will certainly use them in my development,” Malacia added on his praise.
“The intensity is higher [in the Premier League]. It’s like playing some kind of final every week.”
Malacia receives Man Utd praise
Malacia said upon joining Man Utd that he was excited to work with “tremendous” coach Ten Hag.
Since then, though, it is the player himself who has been receiving praise for his performances.
Indeed, former United centre-back Ferdinand even said Malacia “reminds me of Patrice Evra in many ways”.
Ferdinand added that England international Shaw is “going to have to do something to get back in this team now”.
The comments came after Malacia kept Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah at bay at Old Trafford.
Ferdinand concluded by claiming “there aren’t many left-backs in European or world football in the last four or five years” who have managed that.
United man progressing well
Malacia can even be hailed as a poster boy of Ten Hag’s era at Man Utd so far.
Not only was he the Dutchman’s first signing, but he has also been one of the best and most consistent performers.
Malacia has taken to Ten Hag’s methods brilliantly and Shaw has a lot to do to get back in the team.
All eyes will be on Shaw after he retained his place in the England squad, despite his lack of action.
The contrasting situations of Malacia and Shaw can be compared to Ten Hag’s changes at centre-back.
New signing Lisandro Martinez has displaced club captain Harry Maguire, who – like Shaw – will want to prove himself with England ahead of the World Cup.
Ten Hag’s first key defensive signings have adapted well and it is a strong sign of the manager knowing his recruitment policy and getting decisions right.
United return to action after the international break to face Manchester City away from home.