Wan-Bissaka: I'll only get better
Aaron Wan-Bissaka has learned a lot during his short time at Manchester United, but the right-back has his sights firmly set on honing his game even further in 2020.
In an exclusive interview, which appears in the February edition of our official monthly magazine, Inside United, the 22-year-old assesses his first six months at Old Trafford, after signing from Crystal Palace in June.
“Yeah, definitely. I’m happy. I think I’ve done well and I think I’ll only get better. I’m quite happy,” Wan-Bissaka said, when asked if he was pleased with his form so far in 2019/20.
“When it comes to games, it’s not just about my performance, it’s about the team. I’ve enjoyed building relationships with the team in games, working on my partnership with the defence.
“We all go off each other, so that helps as well.”
The Croydon-born defender has settled in as our first-choice right-back, alongside centre-backs Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire, as part of a defence which has conceded seven fewer Premier League goals than at this stage of last season.
Aaron, who only made his professional debut in February 2018, credits his fellow defenders with helping him adjust to the Reds’ system.
“Harry and Victor, they both help me on and off the pitch,” he added. “Before a game, motivation, getting the clean sheet, same as last game, let’s go in hard, look to the next game. That helps. It gets you ready for that game.
“Axel [Tuanzebe] too – he’s really good competition. He’s 22, but he’s mature. He’s similar to Harry and Victor. He’s a loud guy, vocal, he likes to take charge. It helps to have those characters around.”
If there’s one thing both United supporters and neutrals associate with Aaron’s game, it’s his uncanny ability to time a tackle.
He’s currently third in the list of successful tackles in the Premier League this season, behind only Leicester City’s Ricardo Pereira and Wilfred Ndidi, who have played 21 and 20 games respectively, to Wan-Bissaka’s 19.
“Yeah, I am, man," he replied, when asked if he is happy being the leading tackle-maker at United. “That’s something that I wanted to continue from last season. I want to keep doing it.
“I haven’t checked the exact number [77 after the Norwich game on 11 January], but I’m told it’s quite up there.”
Aaron notched his first assist in a United shirt on Boxing Day, providing a pinpoint cross for Marcus Rashford’s towering header against Newcastle.
Despite that, he admits that his attacking game is something he can improve upon – and a major reason he moved to Old Trafford in the summer.
“My work in the final third is something that needs improving, for me.
“Coming to this club, that’s something that I knew I could improve here. I knew it would make me a better player, coming to United.”
At 22, Wan-Bissaka was part of this season’s youngest side in the Premier League, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fielded an XI with an average age of 24 against Brighton at Old Trafford.
With Marcus Rashford (22) and Anthony Martial (24) leading the line and the likes of Daniel James (22), Brandon Williams (19) and Mason Greenwood (18) all making breakthroughs this season, Wan-Bissaka is optimistic about what the future holds.
“It’s so exciting, definitely,” he enthused. “I can see the manager’s plans and what he’s trying to do with the younger lot in the team.
“Consistency is the next step. If we do that, then we’ll be on another level.”