Arne Slot has pointed out Manchester United issue Erik ten Hag has not solved

Arne Slot and Erik ten Hag
Arne Slot and Erik ten Hag faced each other multiple times in the Eredivisie and could be set to do battle again -Credit:Erwin Spek/Soccrates/Getty Images

Tyrell Malacia will likely go throughout the whole 2023/24 season without kicking a ball.

The left-back has faced setbacks in his recovery from surgery for a serious knee injury and Manchester United have lost 12 months’ service from his four-year contract as a result. Erik ten Hag ended Sergio Reguilon’s loan early after believing Malacia would be back by January.

It’s difficult to know where he stands within United’s system, aside from certainly being back-up to Luke Shaw, who himself has missed 32 matches this season. It’s even more uncertain what future he has at the club should Ten Hag be replaced.

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Malacia was Ten Hag’s first signing as United boss, arriving from Arne Slot’s Feyenoord in 2022 having seen him close up while Ajax boss. Whether the two managers line go head-to-head in the dugout again next season is unclear, but Slot looks set for a rival club once more, this time Liverpool.

Slot made an observation about Malacia prior to his switch two years ago. "This season, we have the ball more as a team, so he now needs to be prepared for any counterattack. He's doing this well,” Slot said.

“I do see him taunt opponents a bit too much. Almost showing too much of the ball, to get them to bite. At times, it's too much. He looks a bit complacent, arrogant even, at times. I talk to him about that."

We can, obviously, only judge Malacia from his first season but the 24-year-old perhaps failed to rid that out of his system given he was dropped for Shaw after briefly usurping his colleague during the first half of last term.

One moment that contributed towards this was a performance against Cypriot outfit Omonia Nicosia in last season’s Europa League group stage game. United won the match 3-2 but had gone 1-0 down after Malacia was robbed of the ball while the last defender, and prompted a breakaway goal.

He looked out of his depth in the 6-3 Manchester derby defeat a month later and ended up starting just 14 Premier League matches. It’s impossible to say how Malacia would have developed with another season under his belt with Ten Hag but the manager struggled to get the best out of him during his maiden year at Old Trafford.