Aaron Wan-Bissaka is quick to make an impression at Manchester United | Football
After a summer full of doubt and negativity Manchester United made one of the most emphatic starts to the season on the opening weekend, playing like a team with a purpose and scoring four times against Chelsea to leave Frank Lampard looking the rookie Premier League manager with problems.
No one was more pleased than Aaron Wan-Bissaka to get the season under way with a crowd‑pleasing victory: the former Crystal Palace right-back was making his United debut as well as attempting to justify a £50m price tag. “It was a great result to beat Chelsea and I couldn’t have been much happier with how it went,” the 21-year-old says. “I had been waiting for my first game at Old Trafford as a United player and it felt great to get it done and for it to go so well.”
Wan-Bissaka came to Manchester with a reputation for pace, positivity and the ability to take things in his stride and he insists he was not overawed by the prospect of winning over 73,000 new supporters. “I wasn’t nervous, that’s not me, but I think a lot of eyes were on the new signings to see how we got on. I just tend to block out that stuff and focus on my own game but at the same time I was really excited about it. I got a lot of playing time in pre-season matches, which I needed because it helped me get to know the team.
“The games all went well and the players were all great with me from the first day onwards. They are all good lads and they helped me a lot when it came to settling in, but even so your first league game at Old Trafford is always going to be a landmark. Thankfully I was happy with my performance.”
So were many other observers and critics, with the consensus being that United have filled a problem position with a young player who will quite quickly make the sum of money handed over to Palace look like smart business. More eyes may have been on the £80m capture Harry Maguire, who stood out in the centre of the home defence in the way United must have hoped after making him the world’s most expensive defender, but Wan-Bissaka is five years younger, far quicker and already displaying confidence and assurance.
All United have to do now is reproduce their winning form at Wolves on Monday, against a side tipped by some to finish above them in this year’s table. Nuno Espírito Santo’s team finished seventh to United’s sixth last season, although the gap was nine points, and while the capacity for improvement remains in a squad promoted back to the top flight only in 2018, there is surely a greater potential within Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s players if the momentum of the opening day can be maintained.
“It will be a tough game, obviously, but there are a lot of positives from the Chelsea match we can take into it and there are a few areas where we can probably improve as well,” Wan-Bissaka says. “What we have at United now is a good mix of young and experienced players and, speaking as one of the younger members of the squad, I think that’s important. We need people to set the standards to live up to, to set the tempo in games when we need it and the more experienced players in the dressing room are capable of doing that.
“I’ve become quite close to Axel Tuanzebe since joining the club. He’s taken me under his wing a bit, though I must admit the whole squad has been looking after me. It has been really easy to come here and feel a part of things. Nobody’s left me out of anything; they all speak with me and interact and that’s really good. It’s been a huge help and I’d like to thank the fans, too, for giving us such support. The crowd was amazing during the Chelsea game and I’ve heard great things about United’s away following as well. Now it’s up to us to give them something to celebrate at Wolves.”