Just days after coming under criticism for his performance against Liverpool, Aaron Wan-Bissaka did everything he could to silence the critics on Wednesday night.
Despite Manchester United’s disappointing 2-0 loss to Burnley at Old Trafford, the England U21 international was undoubtedly one of the saving graces of a poor team display. The Red Devils boasted 72% possession of the ball, and had 24 total shots, but only seven of them were on target. But whilst Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side as a whole misfired, Wan-Bissaka unleashed everything he had to help inspire a comeback.
As per Sofascore, he had 112 touches of the ball (just one fewer than Fred who had the most), made four key passes, attempted seven crosses, and tried seven dribbles too. If there was one person on the pitch who could genuinely hold his hand up and say he tried his best, then Wan-Bissaka would certainly be that man.
After seeing his performance, United fans took to Twitter to voice their thoughts on the right-back.
Wan-Bissaka comes to play for United every game, everyone else 🚮 https://t.co/uLH09Eb75j
— Diego Zamudio (@DiaggioFC) January 22, 2020
There’s very few I can praise, Wan-Bissaka the only one really offering a glimmer of hope tonight. Williams, eventually James and when on Greenwood seemed to want to try too. Martial looks lost wouldn’t surprise me if he goes in the summer sadly. Pereira a waste lately. #mufc
— Daniel James Brown (@DanJBrownMUFC) January 22, 2020
Some fans felt Wan-Bissaka was hugely unlucky against Burnley, and that if he had forwards capable of finishing his crosses inside the box, he could have racked up a couple of assists.
AWB should’ve had a couple assists today. Shameful from the forwards
— All MUFC Everything (@All_MUFC_) January 22, 2020
Difficult to get a cross on target when there is no one in the box
— Scott (@ScottyAdam3) January 22, 2020
For someone who isn’t ideal at crossing. Wan-bissaka has put in so many good balls tonight but there’s no one in the right position. Or when they have been they’ve missed sitters. Gets boring.
— Jamie Evans (@Evans707) January 22, 2020
Wan-Bissaka has consistently been our best player almost every game. Today he was even brilliant in attack which is rare. Robbed of assists man. Absolutely robbed.
— Rey (@Roo104Utd) January 22, 2020
A couple of fans of the Manchester side even expressed sympathy for Wan-Bissaka after the defeat to Burnley.
I feel sorry for AWB man
— Nadeem Moughnieh (@nad_man89) January 22, 2020
Feel so sorry for AWB, should’ve had at least two assists today.
— Jack (@X5Dappo) January 22, 2020
So amidst all the doom and gloom, Wan-Bissaka produced the kind of display that offers a silver lining. A 2-0 defeat at home to Burnley doesn’t offer too much to shout about, but the England U21 international’s encouraging performance, particularly going forward, gives some vital hope for the future.
His defending this season has been impressive, lying in third amongst all Premier League players for most tackles made with 81. And if he can continue to hone his crossing and passing skills in the final third of the pitch, then he will become more of an elite full-back in this modern age.