Rio Ferdinand praised Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s performance as the Manchester United defender ‘placed the shackles’ on Kaoru Mitoma in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final.
United advanced to the FA Cup final in June after defeating Brighton in a thrilling penalty shootout at Wembley.
Mitoma has had a fantastic season after getting into the Brighton XI under Roberto De Zerbi, scoring 10 goals and giving seven assists in 31 games.
The Japan international has caused some of the Premier League’s finest full-backs problems this season, but he had little success against Wan-Bissaka on Sunday evening.
Throughout the game, the former Crystal Palace sensation made a series of vital tackles on Mitoma, with Ferdinand arguing that the performance demonstrated that ‘he is as good as anyone’ in one-on-one defense.
‘I think Wan-Bissaka was the standout player for me,’ Ferdinand told FIVE. ‘Mitoma has been the season’s find for me; he has caused major problems for every squad they have faced.
‘And, to be fair to Wan-Bissaka, he shackled him. And we all know how brilliant Wan-Bissaka is defensively one on one, and today he proved once again that he can handle top-tier players in good form. When it’s just me and you, he’s as nice as anyone.’
Wan-Bissaka began the season out of favor under ten Hag, while also dealing with injuries and illness.
Diogo Dalot made the right-back position his own, but after a slump after the World Cup, the Londoner has been a fixture in the starting XI, with Dalot shifting to left-back on Sunday.
Wan-Bissaka’s current contract expires in the summer of 2024, with an option to extend it by another year, and the right-back is ready to stay.
‘It was my ambition to stay, but during that time (out of the team), my goal was simply to play; everyone enjoys playing, and it makes me happy,’ The Daily Telegraph was informed by Wan-Bissaka.
‘At the time, I would do anything to be able to play again.
‘I’m happy here, I’ve been happy since I started, and that’s what I worked for and what I’ll keep working for.’