Unpopular opinion time on AWB.....

Dve

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This is Bissaka´s first red card in a United shirt, is it not? Sooner or later you will get one, so give him some slack. He might not be world class, but overall he´s been a good signing and he´s been a steady defender for us.
 

SS

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If you've been on here longer than a couple of seasons you'd remember the days people were clamouring for Shaw to be sold as well. Shaw is 26, AWB is 23, focus has to be on developing our players.
You don't learn how to pass and control the ball at 23. The issues with Shaw were very different to AWB. Other than his reluctance to put in aerial crosses, nobody was here questioning his technical ability, a fundamental for a footballer. His issues were tactical and mental mainly, things that generally see improvement over the course of a career. Technical skills usually plateau pretty early in a players development and mental/tactical development takes the forefront. You need to consider that AWB's been surrounded by coaches aiming to get the best out of him for probably a decade or so now and been practising passing and controlling a ball since that time. If at this point his technical ability is where it is, I'm not sure there's much more to expect in the coming years.
 

tomaldinho1

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You don't learn how to pass and control the ball at 23. The issues with Shaw were very different to AWB. Other than his reluctance to put in aerial crosses, nobody was here questioning his technical ability, a fundamental for a footballer. His issues were tactical and mental mainly, things that generally see improvement over the course of a career. Technical skills usually plateau pretty early in a players development and mental/tactical development takes the forefront. You need to consider that AWB's been surrounded by coaches aiming to get the best out of him for probably a decade or so now and been practising passing and controlling a ball since that time. If at this point his technical ability is where it is, I'm not sure there's much more to expect in the coming years.
See you in three years and we'll know I guess.
If you can provide any evidence for that claim re technical skills plateauing I would be interested in it as that seems counter-intuitive.
 

Lebowski

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I don't especially care about the red as it can happen but he's probably not the RB a team expecting to dominate the ball want.

He's great in games were we play top sides, because you can trust him to defend one vs one. In games against poorer sides, we need someone better on the ball as an option
Agreed.

I actually thought Ole may have preferred Dalot at the weekend given how Newcastle were going to play and the licence it would give our full backs to play higher up the pitch and get crosses in.

It seems like it's a weakness that Ole is aware of which presumably is why we were so strongly linked with Trippier all summer. Hopefully that would either gives us better attacking output from the right or have a similar effect to Telles on Shaw and force him to work on the deficiencies of his game. I don't know if you can 'train' a first touch of a 23 year old professional footballer, but either way we need more of an attacking contribution from the right hand side.
 

Dve

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You don't learn how to pass and control the ball at 23. The issues with Shaw were very different to AWB. Other than his reluctance to put in aerial crosses, nobody was here questioning his technical ability, a fundamental for a footballer. His issues were tactical and mental mainly, things that generally see improvement over the course of a career. Technical skills usually plateau pretty early in a players development and mental/tactical development takes the forefront. You need to consider that AWB's been surrounded by coaches aiming to get the best out of him for probably a decade or so now and been practising passing and controlling a ball since that time. If at this point his technical ability is where it is, I'm not sure there's much more to expect in the coming years.
He´s not that bad at it. He doesn´t often give away the ball in dangerous areas because of bad ball control and his pass accuracy is pretty much on level with Shaw.
 

SS

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See you in three years and we'll know I guess.
If you can provide any evidence for that claim re technical skills plateauing I would be interested in it as that seems counter-intuitive.
Sorry I should rephrase that as fundamental technical skills (not shooting for example, but the things every player practises daily from an early age and applies to various scenarios, like controlling the ball, dribbling, etc.) Anything I can provide will be anecdotal, but I suppose the best way I can explain my reasoning is by asking you the reverse question — why do you think they'll improve? It isn't like decision making where as you receive tactical instructions and experience top-level games, you gain better understanding of how to deal with different scenarios. Fundamentals like ball control are things that are practised from an early age. At this point, what could AWB have missed in his years of training or not experienced enough that would make a difference at this point in his career? He's probably controlled a ball hundreds of thousands of times in his career now and still isn't at the level of other players.
 

Blood Mage

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He might improve under a better coach but right now I really wish we'd signed Trippier.
 

tomaldinho1

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Sorry I should rephrase that as fundamental technical skills (not shooting for example, but the things every player practises daily from an early age and applies to various scenarios, like controlling the ball, dribbling, etc.) Anything I can provide will be anecdotal, but I suppose the best way I can explain my reasoning is by asking you the reverse question — why do you think they'll improve? It isn't like decision making where as you receive tactical instructions and experience top-level games, you gain better understanding of how to deal with different scenarios. Fundamentals like ball control are things that are practised from an early age. At this point, what could AWB have missed in his years of training or not experienced enough that would make a difference at this point in his career? He's probably controlled a ball hundreds of thousands of times in his career now and still isn't at the level of other players.
Even rephrased it makes no sense to me. Let's say I, as a 30+ year old man, started to doing keepy ups every day suddenly, I'd get better at keepy ups. It is the same for ball control, passing, crossing, you name it. AWB doesn't actually have a poor touch and he's actually decent enough technically - he is a PL footballer - but he can still improve and will improve if getting good coaching.

There's no logical reason to think he'd suddenly just stop at a certain point. The only reason he would plateau or regress is if he was doing less technical work than he was previously doing under Hodgson.
 

Nicolarra90

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Some good games, some bad ones. A very clumsy player with a decent end product. Overall probably a 6 /10 player a season. Should be looking to upgrade sooner or later.
 

Ole'sgunnarwin

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It's pretty easy to summarise AWA. He's excellent when defenders are running at him, he very rarely gets beaten.
The 2 main weaknesses are his positional play, particularly with crosses from the other side.
And also his ability on the ball. The red card cost us but it's happened to most if not every right back.
But it's his touch before the tackle was poor (which we've seen a lot) and he rarely produces going forward.

I wouldn't write him off yet, but there is serious room for improvement.
 

SS

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He´s not that bad at it. He doesn´t often give away the ball in dangerous areas because of bad ball control and his pass accuracy is pretty much on level with Shaw.
Maybe not often from an absolute sense, but from a relative sense I'd say it's pretty often. I generally don't like to refer to them as you can make a high/lowlights compilation for any player, but look at this (some clips are harsh though):

Besides those, it's the little things that I'd also say are important. Slight miscontrols of switches of play or fumbles from passes give time for the opposition to reorganise. Small margins like that can make a difference. Pass accuracy isn't really a good barometer either. Smalling had pretty good-looking pass accuracy throughout his time here.
Even rephrased it makes no sense to me. Let's say I, as a 30+ year old man, started to doing keepy ups every day suddenly, I'd get better at keepy ups. It is the same for ball control, passing, crossing, you name it. AWB doesn't actually have a poor touch and he's actually decent enough technically - he is a PL footballer - but he can still improve and will improve if getting good coaching.

There's no logical reason to think he'd suddenly just stop at a certain point. The only reason he would plateau or regress is if he was doing less technical work than he was previously doing under Hodgson.
As a 30+ year old man that's just started doing keepy ups, for sure. As a 30+ year old man that's been doing keepy ups since he was 10? Doubt it. Progression isn't limitless. Or are you suggesting the only thing separating other players from Messi (on a technical level) for example is practice? Everyone has natural limits. No matter how much Lingard practises his passing, he'll never pass like Pirlo. No matter how much Lukaku practises dribbling, he'll never dribble like Ronaldinho. It's the concept of diminishing returns. When I say never, I suppose I should say "not in a reasonable timeframe".

I asked somebody else this — if technical improvements were so straightforward, why didn't Smalling address this at some point in the 10 years he was here when that was his main criticism?
 

Bwuk

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I just don’t think he’s remotely near good enough.

He might have some good games, but he’s too weak on the ball. Very similar to Fred in that aspect.
 

Redlyn

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Same goal involvements last season in the PL as Shaw...

Shaw. Total PL apps: 192, Goals:2, Assists: 13
AWB. Total PL apps: 115, Goals:2, Assists: 11

People want to be right about him being wrong for us but today was a freak event, he's a top RB and needs intensive coaching (as all young players do).
Today is irrelevant really. It just brings up an opportunity to talk about him. Shaw created a lot more last season (more than double the key passes) and is an all round far better player. Unless your point is that AWB is as good as shaw? Just watching the matches you can see Shaw is miles better. I hope we improve on him asap.
 

MUFCAFC

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I have to say, I do think he has a way to go if he wants to cement the right back position as his own long term.

That being said, players absolutely can improve a LOT, whether they’re 17 or 26. Tripper is a good example. Maybe he was underrated at Spurs? Either way, he developed a hell of a lot under Simeone. Would have been an incredible signing.
 

Mr Smith

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I personally thought the red was harsh. Like I can see why it was given, but it's not dangerous play. He's just stepping and the other player has got his foot in first. He's not out of control and it's certainly not an ankle-breaking challenge; happens all the time at amateur level. I feel referees have this automatic understanding now where any stud on foot contact us a red, which is illogical in a contact sport where you have players running at each other to get the ball. Doesn't excuse the rest of the performance, but i feel AWB can feel hard done by.
 

tomaldinho1

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Maybe not often from an absolute sense, but from a relative sense I'd say it's pretty often. I generally don't like to refer to them as you can make a high/lowlights compilation for any player, but look at this (some clips are harsh though):

Besides those, it's the little things that I'd also say are important. Slight miscontrols of switches of play or fumbles from passes give time for the opposition to reorganise. Small margins like that can make a difference. Pass accuracy isn't really a good barometer either. Smalling had pretty good-looking pass accuracy throughout his time here.

As a 30+ year old man that's just started doing keepy ups, for sure. As a 30+ year old man that's been doing keepy ups since he was 10? Doubt it. Progression isn't limitless. Or are you suggesting the only thing separating other players from Messi (on a technical level) for example is practice? Everyone has natural limits. No matter how much Lingard practises his passing, he'll never pass like Pirlo. No matter how much Lukaku practises dribbling, he'll never dribble like Ronaldinho. It's the concept of diminishing returns. When I say never, I suppose I should say "not in a reasonable timeframe".

I asked somebody else this — if technical improvements were so straightforward, why didn't Smalling address this at some point in the 10 years he was here when that was his main criticism?
I hate those videos because they span too long a period. You could probably make one of Ronaldo being shit at finishing.

He can improve - he won’t become Cafu overnight - but he just needs to be a bit more consistent. I still see a good player in him. Issue tonight wasn’t even his touch to be honest, a lot of players wouldn’t have taken that pass perfectly in their stride, it was the red card.

Re Smalling he did improve slightly as I recall, when he first played for us he was atrocious but to be honest AWB looks like Riquelme compared to him.

I do actually believe it all comes down to how much someone practices something, Messi and Ronaldo weren’t born with the ability to play football they just played it more, worked harder and more effectively than everyone else. Again, at professional level you can’t catch up (Lukaku couldn’t suddenly become a silky dribbler as it’s too late) but AWB isn’t anywhere near as bad as people make out and so even if he just improves everything by a few % he’ll be great for us

Today is irrelevant really. It just brings up an opportunity to talk about him. Shaw created a lot more last season (more than double the key passes) and is an all round far better player. Unless your point is that AWB is as good as shaw? Just watching the matches you can see Shaw is miles better. I hope we improve on him asap.
No but is he better than Shaw was at 23? Immediate reaction is no but then think of how poor Shaw was defensively in many games and how many people wanted him sold. Different problems but there is a solution. Shaw really didn’t hit elite levels until last season so AWB has 2 full seasons to get to that point. There’s still hope for him.
 

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Even when we are playing well (which isnt often to be fair), AWB stands out as the weak link imo. Hopefully we get a new RB in the next couple of years.
 

RedDevilQuebecois

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We will come to regret not signing Kieran Trippier off from Atletico Madrid. Neither AWB nor Diogo Dalot are good enough in a championship-aspiring team, at least not unless someone else can give the right kick in the butt and make them fight for their jobs.
 

hobbers

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He's bad on the ball. He always has been bad on the ball, and he always will be. He's also poor positionally, terrible on set pieces and in the air generally but that's by the by. And that's why we wanted Trippier.

AWB is now the second most glaring weakness in our team after centre mid. He's not going to be playing out his prime years as our first choice right back, you can take that to the bank.
 

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We will come to regret not signing Kieran Trippier off from Atletico Madrid. Neither AWB nor Diogo Dalot are good enough in a championship-aspiring team, at least not unless someone else can give the right kick in the butt and make them fight for their jobs.
Not as much as we regret signing a competent midfielder!
 

Redlyn

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I hate those videos because they span too long a period. You could probably make one of Ronaldo being shit at finishing.

He can improve - he won’t become Cafu overnight - but he just needs to be a bit more consistent. I still see a good player in him. Issue tonight wasn’t even his touch to be honest, a lot of players wouldn’t have taken that pass perfectly in their stride, it was the red card.

Re Smalling he did improve slightly as I recall, when he first played for us he was atrocious but to be honest AWB looks like Riquelme compared to him.

I do actually believe it all comes down to how much someone practices something, Messi and Ronaldo weren’t born with the ability to play football they just played it more, worked harder and more effectively than everyone else. Again, at professional level you can’t catch up (Lukaku couldn’t suddenly become a silky dribbler as it’s too late) but AWB isn’t anywhere near as bad as people make out and so even if he just improves everything by a few % he’ll be great for us


No but is he better than Shaw was at 23? Immediate reaction is no but then think of how poor Shaw was defensively in many games and how many people wanted him sold. Different problems but there is a solution. Shaw really didn’t hit elite levels until last season so AWB has 2 full seasons to get to that point. There’s still hope for him.
Shaw was not elite but you could always see his potential even before his leg break. AWB will improve like any other player but he just doesn't have the skillset to be well rounded fullback. You would see flashes now even if inconsistently. He is a limited footballer.
 

beer&grill

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His skill on the ball wouldn’t look out of place when I play with my friends on an… astroturf pitch.
 

Okey

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He's bad on the ball. He always has been bad on the ball, and he always will be. He's also poor positionally, terrible on set pieces and in the air generally but that's by the by. And that's why we wanted Trippier.

AWB is now the second most glaring weakness in our team after centre mid. He's not going to be playing out his prime years as our first choice right back, you can take that to the bank.
I agree! Simple really. Except I will make him the third most glaring weakness in our team. The first isn't on the pitch.
 

MadMike

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Dalot isn’t the solution for reasons not exclusively linked to Dalot.

We have been playing without a midfield pretty much. Heat maps consistently put Bruno’s average position as high as the CF’s. We play 4-2-4 really and not only that, but one of the 2 CMs in the middle has regularly been Pogba. Teams have been cutting through our midfield like butter, but through a combination of bad finishing from their part and heroics from our defence/GK, we have avoided losing a game in the league yet.

However when teams run at your defence willy-nilly you need defenders good at last ditch defending. AWB is poor with the ball, sure, worse than Dalot perhaps. But there is no way Dalot is there and making that last ditch tackle against Trincao of Wolves (after he’d rounded the keeper) to save us from falling behind in the first 15 minutes.

You can’t set up with all your players thinking of attack first. Some must need to to be prioritising defence too. That’s why I don’t think Dalot will replace AWB any time soon. He’s not a solid enough defender and in our very attacking line up, he will be exposed.
 

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I think he's terrible to be honest. Would need to be a pretty spectacular development to be anywhere near good enough.
 

elmo

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I hate those videos because they span too long a period. You could probably make one of Ronaldo being shit at finishing.

He can improve - he won’t become Cafu overnight - but he just needs to be a bit more consistent. I still see a good player in him. Issue tonight wasn’t even his touch to be honest, a lot of players wouldn’t have taken that pass perfectly in their stride, it was the red card.

Re Smalling he did improve slightly as I recall, when he first played for us he was atrocious but to be honest AWB looks like Riquelme compared to him.

I do actually believe it all comes down to how much someone practices something, Messi and Ronaldo weren’t born with the ability to play football they just played it more, worked harder and more effectively than everyone else. Again, at professional level you can’t catch up (Lukaku couldn’t suddenly become a silky dribbler as it’s too late) but AWB isn’t anywhere near as bad as people make out and so even if he just improves everything by a few % he’ll be great for us


No but is he better than Shaw was at 23? Immediate reaction is no but then think of how poor Shaw was defensively in many games and how many people wanted him sold. Different problems but there is a solution. Shaw really didn’t hit elite levels until last season so AWB has 2 full seasons to get to that point. There’s still hope for him.
Shaw already won our player of the year by the time he was 23. His biggest problem was staying fit, but once he managed to stay fit, he was generally one of our best players in most games.

AWB's biggest problem is that he's still the same player he was when he signed for us who relies on his tackling to get away with bad positioning and generally poor reading of the game. We need a proper coaching team to actually help our players develop, or it's just a waste of money to keep buying new players.
 

Jackal981

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And due to that first touch or lack there of, AWB finds it difficult to play intricate passes in tight spaces. Basically he needs space to run into or else he’s fecking useless.
He’s basically a worse version of Valencia
 

dabeast

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Such a nice, comfortable time to watch a match and then AWB. He has demonstrated bad judgment - lost his driving license for many road infractions in the UK, has fathered children with random women.

He is quick, durable, a world-class tackler but not a great defender because his decisions are not improving. Worrying.
 

NewGlory

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Such a nice, comfortable time to watch a match and then AWB. He has demonstrated bad judgment - lost his driving license for many road infractions in the UK, has fathered children with random women.

He is quick, durable, a world-class tackler but not a great defender because his decisions are not improving. Worrying.
What does personal life issues have to do with being a good footballer? Most top footballers have been complete idiots in personal lives. Are you just trying to attack him anywhere you can?
 

vva

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Signing of Sancho will not solve our problem on the right. As you can see, he clearly can't make things on his own and usually need overlap full back like what he get in Dortmund. If we want someone to fix our problem on the right, it must be Adama traore or similar style of player who can make everything on his own. For Wanbissaka, his best attribute is about 1vs1 tackling while other of his attributes such as positioning, aerial duel, touching, passing, attack & team play are average to poor. Sad to say we need either new attacking right back or new explosive right wing.
 
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Dve

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Maybe not often from an absolute sense, but from a relative sense I'd say it's pretty often. I generally don't like to refer to them as you can make a high/lowlights compilation for any player, but look at this (some clips are harsh though):

Besides those, it's the little things that I'd also say are important. Slight miscontrols of switches of play or fumbles from passes give time for the opposition to reorganise. Small margins like that can make a difference. Pass accuracy isn't really a good barometer either. Smalling had pretty good-looking pass accuracy throughout his time here.

As a 30+ year old man that's just started doing keepy ups, for sure. As a 30+ year old man that's been doing keepy ups since he was 10? Doubt it. Progression isn't limitless. Or are you suggesting the only thing separating other players from Messi (on a technical level) for example is practice? Everyone has natural limits. No matter how much Lingard practises his passing, he'll never pass like Pirlo. No matter how much Lukaku practises dribbling, he'll never dribble like Ronaldinho. It's the concept of diminishing returns. When I say never, I suppose I should say "not in a reasonable timeframe".

I asked somebody else this — if technical improvements were so straightforward, why didn't Smalling address this at some point in the 10 years he was here when that was his main criticism?
Not even sure what that means. Relative sense? Relative to what?

You can make these kind of compilation for any player. Last year there was one about Maguire, and you could easily make one about e.g. Varane as well. Just imagine a compilation about all the easy passes Fernandes has been misplacing, that would make him look really silly.
 

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Same goal involvements last season in the PL as Shaw...

Shaw. Total PL apps: 192, Goals:2, Assists: 13
AWB. Total PL apps: 115, Goals:2, Assists: 11
Wonder what Shaw’s stats would be like if the opposition gave him the time and space of the half the pitch that they regularly happily concede to AWB.
 
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We will come to regret not signing Kieran Trippier off from Atletico Madrid. Neither AWB nor Diogo Dalot are good enough in a championship-aspiring team, at least not unless someone else can give the right kick in the butt and make them fight for their jobs.
Nonsense, AC Milan and BVB wanted him in the summer. He has potential but he needs some good coaching.