Move over Malacia: MUFC could challenge Shaw by unleashing “immaculate” 20 y/o starlet

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Luke Shaw, a veteran defender who has been with Manchester United for nearly nine years, was given a new long-term contract at Old Trafford as a result of his strong play this season. The 27-year-old is expected to extend his tenure at the team.

The 29-cap gem was also the recipient of noteworthy praise from manager Erik ten Hag, who hailed the Three Lions star as “the best left full-back in the UK” after having a “great, great season.” Football director John Murtough called the former Southampton star a “massively important player” after he signed on the dotted line earlier this month.

Shaw’s deal suggests that United will be in good hands at left-back for the foreseeable future, despite ongoing rumors about the possibility of a new signing on the right side of the defense this summer.

The latter guy, who was the first player signed by the Ten Hag administration in Manchester, has also spoken of the greater “competition” that has followed Tyrell Malacia’s departure from Feyenoord last summer.

Even though the 23-year-old Rotterdam native’s recent struggles may have raised questions about his suitability for the position, the eight-cap Netherlands international is expected to eventually replace Shaw in that starting position.

According to Deadline’s Andreas Wiseman, the 5 foot 7 menace was mentioned as one of the players in the current squad who can be “really tough to watch” despite having just just scored an own goal in a 2-2 draw at home against Sevilla after failing to monitor his man at the back post.

According to Daily Express journalist Alex Turk, the diminutive defender still has “plenty to prove” as he nears the end of his first season at the Theatre of Dreams. It’s also possible that Alvaro Fernandez, another promising young left-back on United’s books, will overtake the £14.7 million addition soon.

Who is Alvaro Fernandez of Man United?

While the 20-year-old Spaniard has yet to play for the Red Devils’ first squad, many have high hopes for him ever since he joined from La Liga powerhouse Real Madrid back in the summer of 2020, joining fellow full-back Marc Jurado, who came from Barcelona.

According to the club’s official website, Fernandez is hailed as a player who ‘looks extremely comfortable in possession’ Fernandez has made waves with his performances in the youth ranks recently, garnering praise from academy head Nick Cox last year, who hailed him as a “standout performer” for the U23 side.

The young revelation was particularly impressive in the junior setup last season, with talent scout Jacek Kulig identifying him as United’s “best player” in the UEFA junior League “without a doubt.” Cox also hailed him as a “excellent role model” for those around him.

The former youth international for Spain is now on loan at Preston North End of the Championship, but before that he had already shown his attacking prowess at academy level, scoring four goals and dishing out nine assists in 47 games for the U21 team while playing full back.

The young player was raised as a centre-forward, which may explain why he has the capacity to have an impact in the final third. The player has previously disclosed that he once scored more than 100 goals in a single season when playing for the local team Racing de Ferrol.

Young Fernandez is more than capable of making his impact at senior level, even though he is unlikely to replicate those feats from his defensive position anytime soon, as the current season has proved while on loan in the second division.

How is Preston handling Alvaro Fernandez?

A player with a “amazing engine and quality,” in Kulig’s words, the rising star has made a strong impression in his temporary home, contributing six assists in 38 games across all competitions at Deepdale. Malacia, by contrast, has yet to contribute to a single goal for Ten Hag’s team.

The fact that Fernandez has been a real livewire in his left wing-back position, creating six big chances and averaging 1.3 successful dribbles per game, while Malacia, in contrast, has created zero big chances and averaged just 0.2 successful dribbles in the league, highlights the disparity in the pair’s fortunes.

The former Madrid star has shown to be a valuable asset on the defensive end this season, averaging 1.5 tackles and one interception per game. The Dutchman, on the other hand, has averaged two tackles and 1.1 interceptions per game.

Fernandez was rightfully praised as “immaculate” by manager Ryan Lowe, who also called him a “fantastic talent.” The fact that he can succeed offensively while still performing his defensive responsibilities is a credit to his skill.

The 6 foot 1 starlet has just just stated that it is his “dream” to play in the Premier League, and it is hoped that it won’t be long before the £2 million prospect is given the chance to shine back at his parent club. This season is now coming to an end.

It may be Fernandez, rather than Malacia, who emerges as a direct threat to Shaw both next season and beyond, based on his performances in the Championship this season and in the youth set-up in the past.

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