Louis van Gaal reveals why he played Manchester United left-back Tyrell Malacia in back three for the Netherlands vs Belgium
Manchester United left-back Tyrell Malacia was played as a centre-back by Louis van Gaal for the Netherlands against Belgium. The former Red Devils’ head coach revealed he was compelled due to injuries.
The Oranje welcomed Roberto Martinez’s team to the Amsterdam ArenA. In a cagey affair, Holland were able to take the lead through Virgil van Dijk in the 73rd minute. The game ended 1-0.
Malacia came on at the start of the second half, replacing Manchester City centre-back Nathan Ake. However, instead of slotting in the left-wing-back position, the 23-year-old played in the back three.
Speaking after the win to ESPN NL (h/t Metro), Netherlands manager Van Gaal stated that he was looking for a backup in the left-centre-back position and wanted to test how Malacia would do. AZ Alkmaar defender Bruno Martin Indi usually deputises in the position. However, he has been ruled out for the World Cup.
“I put Malacia in the left centre-back role because Martins Indi is not going to make it to the World Cup squad in time due to injury.
“I have to look at other players who can play there and I wanted to see what Malacia could do, so Ake was substituted.”
Malacia new to the Netherlands national side
Malacia is relatively new to the national setup. The 23-year-old made his debut for the Netherlands in September last year. In a World Cup qualification game, the United left-back started in a 4-0 victory against Montenegro.
Since then, Malacia has played a few times for Van Gaal. The Holland international was chosen to represent his country in the UEFA Nations League in June and was called up for the recent international break as well.
The Netherlands faced Poland as well during the international break and beat them 2-0. Van Gaal’s side sit first in their group and have qualified for the Nations League finals.
Malacia joined United in the recent transfer window from Feyenoord. The 23-year-old has instantly made an impact in the team with his aggression and tenacity.
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The Holland international has displaced Luke Shaw from the starting XI in recent weeks. Malacia has been the first choice for Erik ten Hag since the 4-0 loss to Brentford.
United face Manchester City next on 2 October in the Premier League. The 23-year-old-left back has started the last four games we have won in the top flight. Fans anticipate the Holland international to start at the Etihad Stadium as well.