Tyrell Malacia has already set his sights on a place in the line-up as Erik ten Hag’s first choice left-back after playing his first match.
The Netherlands international became Ten Hag’s first signing as United manager when he completed his summer switch from Feyenoord. It’s understood that Ten Hag was left impressed by Malacia after he kept Antony quiet in a game last season, which is when he started tracking the player, who received a glowing endorsement from former United striker Robin van Persie.
While Luke Shaw started the first pre-season game against Liverpool at left-back, Malacia has made it clear he didn’t join United simply to be back-up to the England international and that’s the sort of competition we want to see in the squad after becoming bewildered by Alex Telles’ attempts to fight for a place in the team.
Malacia came on in thee second half and didn’t put a foot wrong in the 4-0 win.
In an exclusive interview with The Mirror, United’s latest signing was asked if he felt he could challenge Shaw for the left-back slot, and said: “Of course, it’s everybody’s aim. You always want to play, so you have to work hard for it.
“There are some good left-backs here – Alex Telles, Brandon Williams, Luke, me – so you have to work hard and prove ourselves in training and in the end the coach will make a decision. I’m happy that I made my debut and that we got the win. I already feel like I’m home, everyone has made me feel like I’m home already, so I’m happy to be here. Of course it’s a big difference, but I wanted this all my life, I worked hard for it, so I have to work harder now.”
The 22-year-old claims his offensive qualities are one of the main reasons why Ten Hag brought him to United, which makes him sound confident in his own ability.
“Of course, I like to attack and I think that’s one of the reasons why he brought me here, so I have to prove to everyone why I’m here,” he added. “My defending is good, also attacking. I have a good spirit, my technique is good, so I’m looking forward to playing.
“The coach has a system. He wants me to play like this, and that’s something we speak about. He wants to attack with the left-back and right-back, so that’s what he wants. For everybody it’s a new season, a fresh start, a new coach, so we will do everything to improve ourselves and do better than last season.
“You always want to win games, especially against Liverpool, but in the end these games are to get fit, so it’s another plus to win. We didn’t speak much with the coach afterwards, when we head to Australia (where United landed on Wednesday) we will sit down and analyse it.”