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How will Tyrell Malacia fit in the Manchester United team?

Wales v Netherlands: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 4
Wales v Netherlands: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 4

Tyrell Malacia has signed for Manchester United from Feyenoord and is the first signing of Erik ten Hag's era at the English club. According to reports, the Red Devils have signed the Dutch left-back for £13 million and add-ons.

An incredible feeling to sign for Manchester United 🤩Let's enjoy this moment before it's time to focus on the future 🙏🏾 https://t.co/QxtafL1P9z

Malacia is joining the Red Devils after a great 2021-22 season in the Eredivisie. He has made 50 appearances for Feyenoord, scoring one and registering five assists. He was also instrumental for the team in reaching the Europa Conference League finals.

This article will show how Malacia can fit into this Manchester United team along with his strengths and weaknesses.

Tyrell Malacia, the inverted full-back at Feyenoord

Feyenoord v Slavia Praha: Quarter Final Leg One - UEFA Europa Conference League
Feyenoord v Slavia Praha: Quarter Final Leg One - UEFA Europa Conference League

The 22-year-old at 5'7 is a physical player and is quick across the pitch. He is a strong defender who is tactically intelligent and can adapt to different systems. Even though he is more of a defensive-minded full-back, he is also a technically gifted player. He is great on the ball with impressive close control, first touch and has wide passing range.

Malacia is an inverted full-back who mainly operated in the middle alongside Feyenoord's holding midfielder. His position in the midfield provided balance to the team's attacking 2-3-4-1 shape. His influence on the team came from a much deeper position with a wide range of passing. He mainly played a supporting role and with his abilities he can move away from the press.

Once Malacia is out of pressure, he can progress the to the opposition half and create passing options. His contributions were important as he was the primary ball progressor of the team creating the attacking sequence. He averaged 56 passes per at 85% accuracy in the league last season.

No True Manchester United fan go pass this picture without liking it. ❤️Tyrell Malacia ✅ Christian Eriksen ✅ https://t.co/jnVAA6ZYit

He was an unsual full-back as he entered the final third, staying central as crossing was not his best suit. He occupied the half spaces like Kevin De Bruyne and played the runner in behind. He improved the team's passing in the final third by playing players in behind or passing the ball wide.

He can also make runs in behind and put the ball across goal for his teammates to attack. He brings a certain unpredictability and rhythm to the team's game be it on or off the ball.

Malacia is a strong and dedicated defender, he is great at 1v1 winning the ball back through tackles and interceptions. Malacia can control the players' movement, which makes it easy for him to time the tackle. He has a tendency to lose concentration when the ball is on the other flank. This could result in him losing the marker and conceding a goal scoring chance.

Despite his small framework, he is reasonably good in the air. He has won 51.3% of his air duels in the Dutch top flight last season. He has also made 2.7 tackles per 90 and 1.1 interceptions per 90 in the league.

Erik ten Hag's usage of full-backs

Vitesse v Ajax - Dutch Eredivisie
Vitesse v Ajax - Dutch Eredivisie

Erik ten Hag mainly uses a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 system, and his philosophy is to play out from the back and keep possession. While at Ajax, his attacking system was 3-2-4-1, where Daley Blind tucked in as a wide centre-back. Noussair Mazraoui operated as an inverted full-back alongside a midfielder. This created a double pivot in front of the three-man defense.

These five players had a lot of rotation between them, which nullified the opposition press. While playing out from the back, the five players rotated among themselves, which manupilated the opposition press. Once the press was released, ball carriers like Blind and Mazraoui carried the ball and made progressive passes.

Blind and Mazraoui provided the team with balance by giving passing options and also supporting defensively. They could also cause overloads in wide areas and form triangles.The full-backs were also important while pressing the opposition.

Erik ten Hag and Pep Guardiola have a lot of similarities with the use of full-backs, Pep uses João Cancelo as an inverted full-back while Kyle walker as a wide centre-back. This is the same play used by the Dutch manager with Mazraoui and Blind.

Malacia is a great signing made by Erik ten Hag who was already being used as an inverted full-back at Feyenoord. His defensive abilities, clean technique and wide range of passing tick all the boxes the Dutch manager would have wanted for this position.

Malacia may not get a lot of minutes from the start of the season. But the 22-year-old, will get his chances and has the potential to thrive under Erik ten Hag and the tactics that suit him. He will share minutes with Luke Shaw at the start of the season but might be a starter towards the end of the season

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Edited by Shardul Sant
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