Man Utd boss Ten Hag in uncharted territory if Leeds wish fulfilled

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Erik ten Hag will be in uncharted territory as Manchester United head coach if Aaron Wan-Bissaka returns to the fold as planned ahead of Sunday’s visit to Elland Road. The tough-tackling right-back missed the midweek 2-2 draw with Leeds at Old Trafford through illness but the Dutchman has already outlined his desire to welcome the £50million defender back into the squad, should he feel well enough.

“I expect this squad is the same [as it was on Wednesday], except I hope Aaron Wan-Bissaka can return,” Ten Hag said ahead of the fiery trip to Yorkshire.

“(Wednesday) he wasn’t there due to illness, so I hope he can return for Sunday.

“It’s like, this moment for the players, it’s all about recovery, recovery sessions, sleep, food and then prepare for the next game.”

If Wan-Bissaka does travel with United, this will be the first time Ten Hag has a genuinely tough decision to make at right-back with Dalot also chomping at the bit for minutes.

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Earlier in the season, the inclusion of Dalot was simply a foregone conclusion but that could soon change given Wan-Bissaka has been consistently excellent since returning to the side in December.

Dalot’s hamstring problem sustained at the World Cup with Portugal blocked Wan-Bissaka’s impending exit and allowed the full-back to reassert himself at Old Trafford after falling off radar.

His first start of the season for United did not come until the Carabao Cup clash with Burnley on December 21 and since taking to the field that day, Wan-Bissaka hasn’t looked back.

Originally, there were fears amongst the fanbase that the former Crystal Palace ace could be heading for the exit door after a shaky performance in the mid-season friendly defeat at Cadiz in December.

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But Wan-Bissaka has since knuckled down and played his part in a brilliant January which included a hard-fought 2-1 win over Manchester City at Old Trafford.

Dalot is no longer guaranteed to start ahead of Wan-Bissaka moving forward with United set to benefit from some much-needed extra competition in defence that will only improve their options.

You would expect Dalot to keep his place given Wan-Bissaka has been ill but given Ten Hag went out of his way to mention that he was hoping to welcome the latter back into his fold, there is definitely a sense he could return to the starting XI.

The Portuguese international gives United a different dynamic going forward but there is no doubt Wan-Bissaka strengthens Ten Hag’s backline defensively.

United kept four consecutive clean sheets over the festive period as they tightened up at the back – something that has enabled them to kick on in recent months.

Ten Hag will welcome the headache particularly ahead of a tricky trip to Elland Road as Leeds will undoubtedly be fired up following the midweek draw at Old Trafford.

Leeds were a major threat on the counter-attack on Wednesday and Dalot was slightly off the pace in the contest.

In fact, Wilfried Gnonto’s opener inside the first few minutes came directly from the right as the Italian cut inside before firing home past David de Gea.

United simply cannot afford to concede two goals again on Sunday if they are to take all three points. They will need to keep things tight and that’s why it would be no surprise if Wan-Bissaka was to get the nod ahead of Dalot.

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