Man Utd legend pinpoints where £13m Ten Hag signing needs to improve this season

Ben Stewart
Manchester United's Anthony Martial and Tyrell Malacia
Manchester United's Anthony Martial and Tyrell Malacia

Manchester United legend Jaap Stam has been discussing Tyrell Malacia and where he thinks the 23-year-old can look to improve.

The Dutch full-back was signed last summer from Feyenoord in a deal worth around £13m. Across all competitions, he featured in 39 matches.

Malacia often found himself behind Luke Shaw in the pecking order, who had an excellent individual season for Man Utd.

Stam thinks that Malacia did well in his debut season at Old Trafford, but there is still room for improvement.

“Well, you know, it’s not easy for him because he’s got Shaw in front of him,” Stam told the club website. “Shaw, he’s stepped up as well. He’s been doing very well defensively and also playing, at times, as a centre-back, but also going forward as a left-back.

“And we like to see that in modern defenders nowadays, especially on the left, and on the right side, to attack as well. Tyrell did very well in Holland at Feyenoord, where he was before he joined United.

“He played a couple of very strong games at the beginning of the season but then he had a couple of very tough games. One of the games was, of course, against [Manchester] City away, you know, in that loss that they had.

“I think that made him think a little bit as well. In how to approach the opposition in a certain way. But he’s a young guy and he’s very, very talented. He’s got pace. He’s got quality on the ball. He can defend.”

The 23-year-old played a total of 1,395 minutes of Premier League football. While Stam obviously rates Malacia, he has pinpointed where the defender can improve this season.

“He needs to be aware of the situation a little bit more because he likes to, if you’re talking about being aggressive, step in. He likes to gamble, at times, as well, and sometimes you need to be aggressive,” Stam added.

“You need to step in and sometimes you need to read the situation a little bit more which, I think, is very important for him as well to do.

“But I think he’s a good man to have as a left-back behind Shaw. You know, when Shaw isn’t able to play or when Ten Hag is using him in a different position, he can step in and can do that job without being a doubt for the manager to think about if he’s producing or not.”

Peter Schmeichel picked out Malacia for criticism during the Red Devils’ 2-2 draw against Tottenham last season.

The defender still has lots to learn, but there’s no doubt that he is developing positively after a solid debut season in England.

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