"Defensive capabilities are his strengths" - John Barnes snubs Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez as he names Manchester United's best defender

John Barnes reckons Aaron Wan-Bissaka is a better defender than Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez
John Barnes reckons Aaron Wan-Bissaka is a better defender than Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez

Former Premier League forward John Barnes has surprisingly named Aaron Wan-Bissaka as Manchester United's best defender.

The Red Devils have several top defenders in their ranks. Raphael Varane has won almost every major trophy with club and country, including four UEFA Champions Leagues. Lisandro Martinez helped Argentina win the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, while Luke Shaw has won four trophies at Old Trafford, including the UEFA Europa League.

Manchester United also have the likes of Diogo Dalot, Tyrell Malacia and Harry Maguire on their books. However, Barnes reckons Wan-Bissaka is the best defender Erik ten Hag has at his disposal although the right-back is not very comfortable in possession.

"Well, Aaron Wan-Bisakka is their best defender," Barnes told Bonus Code Bets. "Maybe he isn’t amazing on the ball like the other players but he is there to defend first and foremost. Erik ten Hag likes his aggression and his defensive qualities. Not many players are going easily past him."
"Not every team can play like Man City with predominantly good footballers. A lot of teams need a player like him. He is comfortable enough with the ball but his defensive capabilities are his strengths."

Wan-Bissaka found playing time hard to come by in the first half of the season but has since established himself as a regular. He has started five of Manchester United's last six Premier League games.

Barnes, meanwhile, said that Wan-Bissaka's prowess in 1v1 situations help the likes of Martinez and Maguire perform better.

"He (Wan-Bissaka) has been rewarded for that and he was exactly what Man United needed," Barnes added. "When you’re conceding a lot of goals and don't have the protection on the midfield you need, then you need very good individual defenders."
"When I’m looking at Maguire or Martinez I wouldn't necessarily say that they are the best individual defenders, so they need players around them that are very good defenders, so Man United in that way can defend well as a team, which would help their center-halves."

Wan-Bissaka has made 30 appearances across competitions for the Red Devils this term and helped them win the EFL Cup in February.

How does Aaron Wan-Bissaka compare to other Manchester United defenders?

Aaron Wan-Bissaka has won 21 of the 31 tackles he has made in the Premier League this season. The Englishman has blocked seven shots and 15 passes and also registered 33 clearances.

Raphael Varane has won nine of the 23 tackles he has attempted in the Premier League, while Lisandro Martinez has won 28 of 54. Varane has blocked 16 shots and seven passes, making 81 clearances in the process.

Martinez, meanwhile, has blocked 27 shots and 24 passes and registered 103 clearances. Wan-Bissaka, Varane and Martinez have amassed 1166, 1654 and 2117 of playing time in the league respectively.

Manchester United's other right-back Diogo Dalot has clocked 2065 minutes in the Premier League this season. He has won 40 of his 53 tackles and blocked seven shots and 17 passes, while also making 52 clearances.

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