June 6, 2023

Alex Telles has not been the attacking revelation that many fans expected nor is his defensive work up to scratch, leading many fans to question his future.

Manchester United are going to be without Luke Shaw for a number of crucial fixtures in the race for a top-four spot. Ralf Rangnick confirmed in his press conference on Friday that the full-back is having screws removed from his leg following the operation to fix his leg break back in 2015 and it may take longer to heal than first expected.

Rangnick said: “As it seems, he will be out for another at least four weeks, if not five weeks, so I think for him it will be difficult to be available for one of the remaining seven games.” This means that others will have to step up in United’s time of need.

The obvious choice to fill in for Shaw is Alex Telles as he has been the main rotation option under Rangnick at left-back, but some fans are questioning whether United should persevere with the Brazilian. These doubts were only further solidified on Saturday with his performance against Norwich.

The Brazillian did pop up with an assist; his corner being headed in for Cristiano Ronaldo and United’s second goal, but it was his defensive work that was more concerning. Both goals were arguably Telles’s fault; the first he left his man open at the far post allowing for an easy header and, the second, he was caught out of position to allow Teemu Pukki the space and time to shoot and score.

And these were only the mistakes he was punished for, as on a number of other occasions he was caught out by an obvious overlap from Norwich. This was true also for Diogo Dalot who was playing on the right-hand side.

The issue is Dalot has time on his side at only 22 years old; Telles at 29 does not. With the Manchester Evening News understanding that Erik ten Hag is set to take over at Old Trafford with a long-term project in mind, Telles could well see his future under threat.

United are expected to invest in Ten Hag’s project over the summer, while Brandon Williams will return from a valuable loan at Norwich City. Another youngster, Alvaro Fernandez, was on the bench on Saturday and has been impressing in the U23s.

What appeared a good deal to sign Telles to provide competition for Shaw, now looks like another example of insufficient scouting to gauge suitability for United. This is the mindset that the club will need to address in the future to succeed under Ten Hag.

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