Manchester United defender Tyrell Malacia has shown Erik ten Hag a new versatility trait during the Netherlands' 1-0 win against Belgium.
Malacia has had a fine start to life at Old Trafford after making the move from Feyenoord this summer. Costing just £14.9million, the 23-year-old has already asserted himself as a regular starter in Ten Hag's side.
Luke Shaw has had to settle for a place on the bench in the Premier League since the sobering 4-0 defeat to Brentford. Malacia came on at half-time, after the damage had already been done and hasn't looked back.
Ten Hag's previous tactical set-up at Ajax put a lot of emphasis on his full-backs as attacking outlets, something that the Dutchman knew Malacia would bring to his side.
Speaking to the club's in-house media, Ten Hag said: “I think he’s the modern left-back or full-back. He suits the profile [we were looking for] and most important from every full-back is that he closes the right area. He can also take part in the offensive side of our game, and he can do that really well. I think he will really contribute to the team.”
The United manager knew how versatile a player Malacia could be on the left-hand side, but during the Netherlands' 1-0 victory, the former Feyenoord defender showed off a new trait as he displayed just how versatile he is.
Malacia came on as a half-time substitute for Nathan Ake and eyebrows were raised when Daley Blind remained as left wing-back, with Malacia taking up a more central position. The United full-back played the entirety of the second-half at left centre-back, alongside goalscorer Virgil van Dijk.
Rather than look out of position, Malacia was confident with the ball at his feet and put in a commanding performance in the central defender role. Ten Hag will have former United manager Louis van Gaal to thank for demonstrating the full-back's new position, with the Netherlands boss' phone undoubtedly being called by the United manager before the end of the international break for a tactical debrief.
Ten Hag may well have been aware of Malacia's ability to fill in at centre-back, but seeing it first-hand will have been invaluable experience for not only the United manager, but also for the defender himself.