New Manchester United signing Tyrell Malacia has set his sights on dislodging Luke Shaw as Erik ten Hag’s first-choice left-back.
Malacia became the long-awaited first signing of the Ten Hag era, joining from Feyenoord for a reported upfront fee of £13million (€15.1m), with £2m in add-ons.
The 22-year-old is expected to pose an attacking threat down the left flank, having laid on four assists in the 2021-22 season, while his 6.0 expected assists (xA) was bettered by only four Eredivisie defenders.
Shaw, Alex Telles, Diogo Dalot and Brandon Williams are among the other left-back options for United, who opened their pre-season campaign with a 4-0 thumping of Liverpool in Bangkok on Tuesday.
Malacia appeared as part of Ten Hag’s second-half team, with both sides heavily rotating throughout the friendly, and he hopes to soon make the spot in United’s starting XI his own.
“There are some good left-backs here – Telles, Brandon, Luke, me, so you have to work hard and prove ourselves in training and in the end the coach will make a decision,” Malacia said.
“Of course [I am] always [confident]. It’s everybody’s aim. You always want to play, so you have to work hard for it.”
Ten Hag was lauded for his free-flowing attacking football that saw Ajax lift the Eredivisie title three times in the coach’s four full seasons at the helm.
Malacia, who impressed in the Europa Conference League final despite defeat to Roma, believes the tactics of the new United coach will suit his game.
“My defence is good, my attacking, my technique is good, so I’m looking forward to playing,” he added.
“Of course I like to attack, I think that’s one of the reasons why [Ten Hag] brought me here, so I have to prove to everyone why I’m here.
“He wants to attack with the left-back and right-back. I’m happy that I made my debut and that we got the win. I already feel like I’m home, they made me feel like I’m home already, so I’m happy.
“Of course it’s a big difference playing for United against Liverpool. I wanted this all my life, I worked hard for it, so I have to work harder now.”
Netherlands coach and former United manager Louis van Gaal warned Ajax’s Jurrien Timber his place may be under threat should he join Ten Hag at Old Trafford.
As Van Gaal and Netherlands look towards the World Cup in November, Malacia assures he is yet to receive such a message from the national team’s coach.
“No, I didn’t speak to him,” Malacia added. “In the end the coach will make the decision, so we will see.”