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Willy Kambwala

December 23rd, 2023 | Football

Manchester United drew 0-0 at Liverpool last time out, with the Red Devils showing plenty of fighting spirit to earn a point at Anfield , a ground where they have struggled for quite some time.

The fighting spirit United showed us an intrinsic part of what the club represents, but another huge part of the club was also evident on the day, the desire to bring youth through.

Eight academy produced players featured in the match-day squad, with six featuring in the match, including captain Scott McTominay.

One of those academy produced players was appearing in a senior match-day squad for the first time in his career, nineteen year old Willy Kambwala, a player I have watched in the academy for the last couple of years.

I thought it would be good to cover a bit of what Kambwala is about for those who are not as familiar with him and his game.

Kambwala is a defender, the kind who looks like he enjoys the art of defending. He is capable of playing full-back, but is predominantly a centre-back. Since joining the club from 2020 Kambwala has always showcased bravery, pace and a desire to get stuck in, but after getting over some injury issues, Kambwala looks, especially this season, like a good, solid all-round defender.

Kambwala is strong and aggressive in his duels, never afraid to put in tackles and get tight against opponents. While that style is often associated with centre-backs perhaps lacking in mobility and pace, Kambwala actually does well in those areas, possessing that pace, which can help when defending against pacey opponents or if draw out-wide.

A part of his game that has improved is his composure and security on the ball, rarely giving it away and looking comfortable when playing out from the back. His leadership qualities have also stood out of late, captaining the side on multiple occasions this season.

With his natural aggression, strength and pace, now combined with improved composure both when with the ball and defending, Kambwala is showing early, promising signs of developing into an all-round modern centre-back.

With United’s lack of younger centre-backs, and the with Maguire, Varane and Evans all over 30, Kambwala, if he continues to improve as he has been and avoids injuries, may get his chance.

Written by Jack Dixon

 

Jack is university student studying Sports Journalism.