When Aaron Wan-Bissaka was thrust into the Crystal Palace side due to an injury crisis, few would have predicted his meteoric rise to the top.
Said rise culminated in a £50m summer transfer to Manchester United, for whom he has started the first two Premier League games of the season.
Having seemingly never had a bad game in his entire career, it has now emerged that only one player has made more tackles than the full-back since he made his Premier League debut: midfielder Wilfred Ndidi.
Five things to know about Aaron Wan-Bissaka…
- ‘AWB’ won Palace’s Player of the Month award at the first attempt in March 2018.
- He was the first player to make 100+ tackles in Europe’s top five leagues last season.
- Only Etienne Capoue (86) made more interceptions than Wan-Bissaka (84) during 2018/19.
- He was the only player in the league with more than 60 tackles, 60 interceptions and 60 take-ons completed in his first full Premier League season.
- Upon joining Manchester United, he became one of two English players to have commanded a fee of more than £50m.
Ndidi (175) just pips Wan-Bissaka (174) in terms of tackles made since the 21-year-old his debut in February 2018; quite a remarkable stat, given the difference in position. After all, Ndidi is a ball-winning midfielder, a role which will give him far more opportunities to tackle than a right-back.
Wan-Bissaka is one of three defenders in the top 10. Coincidentally, the other two are also right-backs: Ricardo Pereira (131) and Cesar Azpilicueta (136).
The full list:
- Wilfred Ndidi (175)
- Aaron Wan-Bissaka (174)
- Idrissa Gueye (165)
- Cesar Azpilicueta (136)
- Ricardo Pereira (131)
- Mohamed Diame (123)
- Declan Rice (123)
- Joao Moutinho (121)
- Luka Milivojevic (118)
- Dale Stephens (117)
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A seamless transition
For many a 21-year-old, a £50m move to one of the biggest clubs in the world might represent too big a move after just one full season in the top flight. However, Wan-Bissaka is not just any 21-year-old.
The full-back looks as though he was made to play at Man United, carrying his imperious form that he acquired at Palace straight into the right-hand side at Old Trafford.
He wowed the Utd faithful during his debut against Chelsea and was equally impressive against Wolves on Monday night. His performances have made the decision to omit him England squads and the PFA Young Player of the Year shortlist last season appear even more curious.
If he carries on with this form, it could give Gareth Southgate a real selection headache at right-back, especially given the early season form of Kyle Walker combined with Trent Alexander-Arnold’s excellent 2018/19 campaign.