Harry Amass for Watford vs Arsenal

Harry Amass: The Answer to Manchester United’s Left-Back Dilemma

Manchester United have struggled with injuries throughout the season, especially in defence. Countless different combinations have been used in the back four and with Luke Shaw still injured and Tyrell Malacia’s situation still unclear, it is the perfect time for a young player to step up. In steps, Harry Amass.

The under-21s left-back (Sam Murray) is on a development loan with Rochdale; he can play for the first time with the Manchester United under-21s but cannot play in a competitive fixture for the Red Devils. This makes it the perfect time for Amass to make his debut, but what makes him so special?

The young left-back only signed for Manchester United in August 2023 when he joined from Watford, and he was thought of very highly at the Hornets. Amass has since impressed in United’s under-18s side, who recently won the Premier League Cup against Manchester City, have already won the Northern Premier League and sit 13 points clear of City.

These performances have earned the youngster several appearances on the Manchester United bench in the Premier League and the FA Cup, and it is clear to see why.

How Good Is Harry Amass?

The excitement around Harry Amass is shared by fans and the club staff alike; he is being compared to some of the recent successes of the Manchester United academy and other young talents at the club. The potential he has could see him become Old Trafford’s next debutant and United’s left-back for the next ten years.

Many of Amass’ fans have compared his playstyle to Luke Shaw’s because he has the ability to overlap and underlap the left winger, invert into a back three, or invert into the midfield. This tactical versatility could make him a very powerful asset for Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United side, but his profile means that he could excel under most managers.

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The young left-back is quick and prefers to attack rather than defend; he can cross into the box from deep or from the byline. He has also utilised this skill when taking free kicks, typically aiming for the back post.

However, this doesn’t mean that he is weak defensively. Amass can use his pace to recover when out of position but his defensive decision-making could be worked on. He also struggles in aerial duels, but at just 17, he has time to improve this aspect of the game before it becomes a serious issue.

One of his biggest strengths is his composure on the ball, and this is becoming increasingly important for defenders in modern styles of play. Almost every team looks to play out from the back, meaning that their defenders need to be composed and make the right choice of pass. Amass is regularly put in situations most players wouldn’t like, with his back to the touchline and being pressed from two directions.

The London-born full-back does not struggle or lose possession like most would, but he either plays a pass to someone in a better position or beats his man with ease using his quick feet. On first watch, many would assume Amass is a winger playing at full-back because of how skilled he is.

The injury situation appears to get worse and worse at Manchester United every day and with no other natural left-backs available for selection, Harry Amass deserves his chance in the first team. However, if he is to succeed in football, he needs to overcome the problem facing every young superstar in football today.

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