July 28, 2022

How will Tyrell Malacia compare with Erik Ten Hag’s left-backs

By Pratyush Anand

 

The period where teams either go full throttle with due diligence and planning or go full throttle with nitro boosters without any succession plan has finally arrived. Manchester United have been on the latter side for quite a few years, but for once, there is a feeling that even a rigid institution like them is trying to be more flexible in its approach towards the transfer market. 

Erik ten Hag has officially taken over the reins with his first ever training session at the club in June. The current squad is far from the ideal Ten Hag team, with some massive gaping holes that need to be fixed, especially in the areas where his playing XI likes to build up the game.

The fullback department is one such place, Ten Hag or not, where the club needed a massive investment (and the right kind of investment). One player that the club is actively pursuing is Tyrell Malacia of Feyenoord.


Player Profile

Born and brought up in Rotterdam, Tyrell joined the famed Varkenoord academy of his boyhood club Feyenoord in 2008 as a 9-year-old kid with the ambitions of making it big with his hometown club. He rose through the academy over the years, eventually signing his first ever professional contract with the club in 2015. Tyrell was impressed in his short stay at Jong Feyenoord, the reserves side of Feyenoord, getting promoted to the senior side at the start of the 2017-18 season. He made his debut in the Champions League in a famous 2-1 victory against Napoli, where he played for the full 90 minutes. A week later, he made his Eredivisie debut in a 1-1 draw against SC Heerenveen. 

Malacia has enjoyed moderate success with his hometown club, winning the KNVB Cup in his first ever season as a senior player. He also won the Johan Cryuff Schaal (the Dutch version of Community Shield: league winners vs domestic cup winners). But his best season came under Arne Slot, who took a Feyenoord side to the finals of the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League, eventually bowing down to the AS Roma side led by Jose Mourinho. But this younger Feyenoord side went down fighting till the very end. 


Playing Style

For a fullback, being athletic and having brilliant stamina is a plus with the game continuously evolving. You can’t be just ‘failed centre backs’ and let the winger ahead of you do his thing. Modern football requires the fullbacks to be muddled on the entire flank, right from the start till the end. 

The stamina and athleticism were present right from the start for a young player like Malacia, making his transition to the senior side very easy. This athleticism feeds into his defensive strengths with a brilliant recovery pace and an understanding of the game, making him a menace in one vs one situations. When you have the combination of not just the brute strength but the brains and the mental condition to make these skills work, you have a brilliant fullback on your hands. 


Malacia has good anticipation skills but often gets caught out of position during transitions. He will avoid the opposition’s wingers getting into their preferred areas of the pitch pro-actively but can lack, making it a concentration issue and can be improved with experience. (2.jpeg below this paragraph)

In terms of attacking game, he has that burst of pace and acceleration to beat his man. The youngster has exceptional control over the ball to make dribbles down that left flank. His athletic build and dominance over the ball make him a brilliant ball carrier rather than a dribbler. He likes to stay wide and use the width of the pitch, sitting deep into the opposition half to receive the ball wide, allowing the winger on the same flank to keep the fullback of the opposition busy and narrow. 

Malacia uses this created space to exploit to gain an advantage. The crossing is one of his good facets of the game. With a competent pair of wingers and a striker with a brilliant off-the-ball movement, Malacia’s deliveries into the box can yield him a lot of assists.

 


Malacia was lacking with progressive passing, but the past season has seen him improve a lot, but now it is down to the coaching under Arne Slot. Malacia, at times, used either under-hit a pass or over-complicate a simple pass when bombing forward. But this season has seen him fix this glaring issue in his game and take a U-turn in the possession phase of the game. 

There was also a reason for this part of his game is underdeveloped. Malacia made his debut under Giovanni van Bronckhorst, but his stay was short when he jumped onto the scene. After that, he had Jaap Stam to Dick Advocaat, who didn’t emphasise a lot on the possession phase of the game, to the introduction of Arne Slot on the sidelines. It is not just Tyrell Malacia who has seen a massive improvement in his overall game. His teammate Lutsharel Geertruida has also improved his overall gameplay.

If we compare Malacia’s expected threat with fullbacks from the top 7 leagues, he doesn’t look bad. While league differences play a part, Malacia still looks good in the top-right quadrant of the above visualisation, being strong at creating threats both from carries and passes. Within the Under-24 age bracket, keeping aside the two ground-breaking wonder kids, Alexander-Arnold and Alphonse Davies, Malacia looks the next best. All indications are that he will become a well-balanced fullback who offers an exceptional attacking threat at his peak for a top team.


One facet of his game which requires attention is the positions where he should receive the ball. Malacia has always stayed wide and received the ball deep into the opposition’s final third. But for Oranje and bigger teams where he will need to see more of the ball, he will need to learn when to invert in-field while receiving the pass. Some improvement was made in this aspect under Arne Slot last season, but there is still some way to go.


Transfer Situation

A brilliant 2021-22 campaign has seen him win plaudits from his critics and has attracted the attention of teams from abroad. Lyon was already in agreement with Feyenoord for a transfer worth 15 million euros, but Manchester United hijacked the deal by offering a better transfer fee to Feyenoord. Malacia is himself in a similar situation to his Oranje teammate Jurrien Timber. Both players are rated higher by Louis van Gaal and are preferred in their respective roles. 

At Manchester United, there will be a fight for a place with Luke Shaw being a senior player and Brandon Williams and Alex Telles also present at the club. Malacia’s skillset is scalable to both Lyon and Manchester United. But the settling period at the English club will be higher, given the jump from Eredivisie to Premier League is more challenging than the jump from Eredivisie to Ligue 1. 

Malacia is a player who can usurp the place of long-serving Luke Shaw in 2-3 years by the higher-ups at Manchester United, with Erik ten Hag also a big fan of the player. The transfer is almost done and an official announcement from the English club’s side is imminent in Tyrell Malacia. Manchester United has secured a favourable full-back who has the potential to become a well-rounded, consistent player down the line.

Previous Post

The countdown for the Rocket Mortgage Classic 2022 begins!

Next Post

Top three Eredivisie Midfielders to look out for in the 2022/23 season

Related Articles

  • June 29, 2022

    How has the Dutch League shaped Eric Ten Hag for Manchester United?

  • July 08, 2022

    Lionel Messi’s agent refutes claims of Inter Miami stake purchase and a potential move

  • July 11, 2022

    Best U21 Attackers in Eredivisie

  • July 11, 2022

    Gabriel Slonina: The goalkeeping prospect Chelsea and Real Madrid clash for

  • July 11, 2022

    FIFA announces hosts cities for World Cup 2026

  • July 12, 2022

    Juventus and Italy legend Giorgio Chiellini signs with LAFC

  • July 13, 2022

    Standout players in Eredivisie outside the ‘Big 3’: season 2021-22

  • July 18, 2022

    MLS Match Report- Los Angeles FC vs FC Dallas

  • July 20, 2022

    Lisandro Martinez at Manchester United- a blessing in disguise?

  • July 20, 2022

    Gareth Bale joins MLS Western Conference leaders LAFC

  • July 21, 2022

    How will Milan Škriniar transform Chelsea

  • July 25, 2022

    ‘Vietnamese Messi’ Nguyen Quang Hai pens deal with Ligue 2 side Pau FC

  • July 26, 2022

    LAFC triumphs over LA Galaxy in the enthralling derby at Banc of California

  • July 27, 2022

    Federico Bernardeschi – Toronto’s Italian Job

  • July 27, 2022

    Players to watch: Top 3 Eredivisie wingers in the 2022/2023 season

  • July 28, 2022

    How will Tyrell Malacia compare with Erik Ten Hag’s left-backs

  • July 29, 2022

    Top three Eredivisie Midfielders to look out for in the 2022/23 season

  • August 01, 2022

    Five MLS defenders to watch in the 2022- season

  • August 01, 2022

    LAFC 2 – 1 Seattle Sounders – Bale and Chiellini Win on Home Debut for the Black and Gold

  • August 02, 2022

    MLS Match Report: FC Dallas vs LA Galaxy

  • August 02, 2022

    DFL Super Cup 2022 Report: RB Leipzig vs Bayern Munich

  • August 02, 2022

    MLS Match Report: Nashville SC vs Vancouver Whitecaps

  • August 03, 2022

    MLS Match Report: Sporting KC vs Austin FC

  • August 03, 2022

    Summer 2022: A summer of the overhaul for Tottenham that should send fans, and opposition frenetic

  • August 03, 2022

    How Man City could line up Erling Haaland and Kalvin Phillips with their current squad

  • August 03, 2022

    Players to watch: Top Three Eredivisie wingers in the 2022/2023 season

  • August 03, 2022

    MLS Match Report: San Jose Earthquakes vs Real Salt Lake

  • August 04, 2022

    An active transfer window to fire Sparta Rotterdam up on the Eredivisie table

  • August 04, 2022

    Bergwijn, Kezman, Altidore: Premier League’s 8 Biggest Eredivisie flops

  • August 04, 2022

    England defeat Germany to win the European Championships

  • August 04, 2022

    Barcelona have made a significant stride forward with the signing of Jules Kounde

  • August 04, 2022

    Premier League names Alison Brittain as its first female chair

  • August 05, 2022

    MLS Match Report: Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas

  • August 05, 2022

    Jesus Ferreira – A USMNT Star in the making

  • August 05, 2022

    MLS Match Report: San Jose Earthquakes vs Inter Miami CF

  • August 05, 2022

    Top 3 U-25 wingers in La Liga for 2022-23 season

  • August 05, 2022

    How will Giovani Lo Celso’s return benefit Villarreal?

  • August 05, 2022

    Chelsea Eyeing Villareal defender Pau Torres for a £50m Move: Good choice for Tuchel?

  • August 06, 2022

    An Ode to Aaron Ramsey

  • August 06, 2022

    Steffen Baumgart- The man behind FC Koln’s recent resurgence

  • August 06, 2022

    Gareth Bale's debut for LAFC

  • August 06, 2022

    Aaron Long: Red Bull’s New Centre Back

  • August 08, 2022

    MLS Match Report- Portland Timbers vs Nashville SC

  • August 08, 2022

    Thomas Tuchel's biggest bet on Raheem Sterling for Chelsea transformation

  • August 08, 2022

    Dutch League Match Report- Fortuna Sittard vs AFC Ajax

  • August 08, 2022

    Dutch League Match Report - PSV vs FC Emmen

  • August 08, 2022

    Ryan Gravenberch - How Ajax shaped him

  • August 09, 2022

    Calvin Bassey: Continuing the Nigerian dynasty at Ajax

  • August 09, 2022

    How will Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit impact Manchester United

  • August 09, 2022

    MLS Match Report- Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Houston Dynamo

  • August 09, 2022

    Nathan Byrne heads to the MLS with Charlotte FC

  • August 09, 2022

    MLS Match Report: Charlotte FC vs Chicago Fire FC

  • August 10, 2022

    Dutch League Match Report- NEC vs FC Twente

  • August 10, 2022

    MLS Match Report- Real Salt Lake vs Los Angeles FC

  • August 10, 2022

    MLS Match Report- Sporting Kansas City vs LA Galaxy

  • August 10, 2022

    LA Galaxy sign FC Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig

  • August 10, 2022

    From Haaland’s double score to Ten Hag’s debut defeat- Here’s all from the first week of Premier League

  • August 11, 2022

    Alex Telles ‘didn’t think twice’ before leaving Man United and joining Sevilla FC

  • August 11, 2022

    Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid join race for RB Salzburg’s Benjamin Sesko

  • August 11, 2022

    Top 5 clubs with most UEFA Super Cup Title

  • August 11, 2022

    Nottingham Forest’s promotion, Arsenal’s win, Aston Villa’s defeat- all from the first week of Premier League

  • August 11, 2022

    MLS Match Report- RD 25 - MLS All-Stars vs Liga MX All-Stars

  • August 11, 2022

    Carlos Vela: The journey from Arsenal to LAFC

  • August 12, 2022

    UEFA Super Cup Review- Real Madrid vs Frankfurt

  • August 12, 2022

    The making of one of MLS’ best strikers - Josef Martinez

  • August 12, 2022

    Is Marc Cucurella the versatile player Chelsea wanted?

  • August 12, 2022

    How will Denis Bouanga fit with the current LAFC squad?

  • August 12, 2022

    Why has Manchester United suddenly gone Dutch?

Comments

Post a comment