Irwin says Telles can win left-back spot
Legendary Manchester United left-back Denis Irwin says Luke Shaw's absence could signal a massive opportunity for recent signing Alex Telles – if he can stay clear of injury.
The Brazilian has played just one game for the Reds since joining from Porto at the end of the summer transfer window, but gave a promising glimpse of his skill set during United's 2-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain.The defender later tested positive for COVID-19, which stalled his progress, but should be available for Saturday's Premier League clash with West Brom, even if he has had a tiring journey from South America. And Irwin believes the match represents a massive opportunity for the 27-year-old, given Shaw is set to miss a month with a hamstring issue.
“It's an opportunity for him now, with the games coming up, to get his foot in there,” explained Irwin. “And sometimes it's through lack of injuries that you manage to hold down the place of the left-back position.“I mean, we haven't seen him too much [from him] defensively wise, but the Premier League is a tough league and he's a full-back, so he'll have to be good defensively. But we've already seen his qualities going forward in that game in the 70 or so minutes he played.”
Telles operated as the left-sided wing-back in a five-man defence during United's victory at the Parc des Princes, and impressed Irwin with his crossing ability – both from dead balls and in open play.The Treble-winner even contemplated comparing Telles to one of the club's great set-piece heroes from years gone by, but, ultimately, decided to stop short!
“There's no doubt that, on set-pieces, he's going to be a huge asset to us in that respect,” enthused Denis. “Also, I'm not going to compare him to David Beckham! But it looks like he's got a fantastic left foot that can whip a ball in with pace, which our strikers would love to get in at the end of.”
On Tuesday, the Brazilian football federation confirmed that Telles has tested negative for COVID-19, though the full-back was an unused substitute in the Selecao's 2-0 win over Uruguay on Tuesday evening.Stay tuned to ManUtd.com and our Official App on Friday, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is likely to provided an informative update on squad availability ahead of the West Brom match.