Owen Hargeaves says Aaron Wan-Bissaka needs to be less reluctant to get into forward positions for Manchester United, but admits he has no chance of matching the “alien” numbers of Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Wan-Bissaka made his first start under new United boss Ralf Rangnick on Wednesday, playing the full 90 minutes as they drew 1-1 with Young Boys in the Champions League.
The full-back occasionally found himself in more advanced positions, but was unable to affect the game in an attacking sense – a criticism that has often been aimed his way.
And Hargreaves has urged Wan-Bissaka to provide a greater forward presence, comparing him to the Premier League full-backs creating chances on a consistent basis.
“Everybody knows his attributes are defensively, which is great,” Hargreaves told BT Sport. “But Reece James, [Joao] Cancelo, Trent Alexander-Arnold – they get you 10 assists [a season].
“He doesn’t have to get United 10 assists, but you want him to get five and just put himself in positions where he’s crossing the ball, where he’s receiving it in areas where he can create a bit more.
“At times, he looks a bit reluctant to go up there. I think if he puts himself in those positions more and forms a partnership with [Mason] Greenwood, then I think he can get those numbers. Nobody is going to get Trent numbers, because he’s a bit of an alien.”
Wan Bissaka has just ten assists in 118 games for United, while Alexander-Arnold has 53 in 195 for Liverpool.
Meanwhile, despite not being happy with United’s overall performance against Young Boys, Rangnick reserved special praise for Mason Greenwood, who scored the acrobatic opener for the Red Devils.
Rangnick said: “I think today he also showed not only the quality because of that beautiful goal, but also the way that he set up the opportunity for Juan Mata was brilliant.
“He’s a massive talent – left foot, right foot, good on the ball. Also the way that he set up the goal for Fred on Sunday, so it’s about continuity.
“He has to develop physically but technically for his age he is a great player.
“My job is to develop him, to make an athlete out of him and if he manages to do that, he can be become a regular player for this club.”