Manchester United: The Alex Telles impact
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 19: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Bruno Fernandes and Alex Telles of Manchester United in action during a first team training session at Aon Training Complex on November 19, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

In modern football, a full-back is expected to do much more than just the primary positional responsibility of defending. Joining the attacks on the flanks, being excellent set-piece takers and amazing overall footballers are considered bare minimums for players in the full-back role. 

Manchester United now have a player in their ranks who can do all that is mentioned above and a lot more in Alex Telles. The Brazilian full-back who joined Man United in the summer transfer window had some mind-blowing creative statistics last season with FC Porto where he registered 13 goals and 12 assists in 49 games across all competitions.

With Luke Shaw facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines with an injury layoff, the timing is perfect for Telles to lay down a marker and take the Premier League by storm when United face a struggling West Bromwich Albion side at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday.

Open Play

Telles is known for his end to end wing-play and excellent crossing ability when an opportunity presents itself, and these traits were very much on display in his only start for United in their 2-1 away win in the Champions League against Paris Saint Germain

Embed from Getty Images

With players like Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford leading the United attack in the final third, Telles is expected to have a real impact on the left-flank going forward.

In terms of the distribution of attacking play, United have always predominantly relied on the left-flank as a source of inspiration with the right flank still playing catch up as Aaron Wan-Bissaka continues to improve on the attacking aspects of his game.

Rashford's tendency to cut inside from the left-flank further enhances Telles' attacking potential, with multiple opportunities in prospect for him to deliver the ball into the box. 

As far as the defensive side of things is concerned, Telles is considered to be quite solid defensively without being as exceptional in defence as he is in attack. He has a lot to prove considering the physical demands of the Premier League, however, he certainly has the ability to take the league by storm. 


He's got a wand of a left-foot. That's a one-line summary of what the Brazilian can do from set-pieces. 

There were some glimpses of these traits in United's win over PSG in the Champions League. Although United didn't score off any of Telles' corners, the delivery into the box was devilishly world-class and caused some real problems to the Parisians' defence. With real aerial threats like Edinson Cavani and Harry Maguire among the United ranks, corners could prove to be a key area of improvement going forward as United have failed to capitalize on set-pieces time and again in the past. 

Embed from Getty Images

Another potential area of impact could be direct free-kicks favouring a left-footed player. United don't have a specialist left-footed free-kick taker who is a regular in the first team.

Juan Mata is more of an occasional impact player alternating between the first team and the bench and Fred who has been amazing at the centre of the park isn't a specialist free-kick taker.

Enter Alex Telles - The Brazilian is a pure striker of the ball from distance and can do a fantastic job at free-kicks shouldering the responsibility alongside Fernandes and Rashford. 

United really need to find some consistency in their game after a rocky start to the 2020/21 season. With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still contemplating his best starting XI and constantly chopping and changing, the time could be perfect for someone like Alex Telles to get a continuous run of games and cement his place and consistently deliver strong performances the pitch.

With United desperately in need of improving their home form domestically, Telles alongside the likes of Fernandes could just be the start of something really special at the Theatre of Dreams.