Wan-Bissaka respects Zaha's threat

Tuesday 28 November 2023 08:00

Aaron Wan-Bissaka firmly believes that training up against Wilfried Zaha helped to make him a better defender.

The Manchester United right-back came off the bench for Luke Shaw in the weekend win at Everton, after missing the victory against Luton Town due to illness.

His ability in one-versus-one duels could be useful in Wednesday's 17:45 GMT kick-off, as the Reds come up against Galatasaray and former winger Zaha, with qualification for the UEFA Champions League knockout stages on the line.

Wan-Bissaka was absent from the 3-2 home defeat to the Super Lig champions due to injury but should be an option in Istanbul.

Watch Aaron Wan-Bissaka's brilliant goal-saving challenge on Wilfried Zaha.

Zaha scored the fourth and final goal in a 4-0 triumph against Alanyaspor last time out and is an obvious danger for the home side at their intimidating Rams Park.

The Ivory Coast international only made four appearances for United after becoming Sir Alex Ferguson's last signing as manager, but only arriving from Crystal Palace after the Scot's retirement. However, he lifted a trophy in one of those outings as we beat Wigan Athletic to win the 2013 Community Shield.

The skilful wide man would end up returning to Palace and his effort for Galatasaray in their 3-2 win at Old Trafford was his fourth in 16 games against his old side, following a winner for the Eagles in the final game of the 2021/22 season.

Wan-Bissaka has had some memorable contests with his former colleague, whom he would regularly come up against in training with Palace.

One last-ditch tackle prevented Zaha from scoring a very late winner in our last trip to Selhurst Park, in January of this year, and the respect shown then by the 31-year-old has been reciprocated by the United no.29.

"We're still in contact," Aaron told us recently. "When I saw the draw, I thought about it. I'm happy for him to go out there and he's playing well for them now. I think he's enjoying it. He'll just be looking forward to the competition in that different league and also in the Champions League.

"You know, even from when I was training with him at Palace, I respected him a lot. That was the battle we had. That helped me as a player as well.

"You just never know with him, on what day, and you have just got to be prepared. Obviously, you just play your own game and, all that comes, you deal with it then."