Manchester United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka urged to stick with England by former manager Roy Hodgson

Jack Rosser
·3-min read
 (Pool via REUTERS)
(Pool via REUTERS)

Roy Hodgson has urged Manchester United's Aaron Wan-Bissaka to learn from Jack Grealish and Wilfried Zaha and not shun an England career just yet.

The Crystal Palace academy graduate faces intense competition to feature at right-back under Gareth Southgate and is reportedly considering a permanent switch to DR Congo, whom he represented at youth level.

The 23-year-old has never made a senior appearance for England and was forced to withdraw from the only squad he was included in.

Grealish switched from the Republic of Ireland to England more than five years ago but only made his senior debut this season, while Zaha elected to play for Ivory Coast instead of the Three Lions after growing frustrated at being overlooked.

Former England manager Hodgson, who handed Wan-Bissaka his Crystal Palace debut before he went on to be sold to Manchester United for £50million, has urged him to remain patient with the Three Lions and fight for his place.

Hodgson said: "During my team with England, there were players who I faced a lot of questions about and, ‘Why aren’t you doing more to get him to play for England’ and ‘what a scandal that this guy might escape’.

“I’m thinking in particular about [Adnan] Januzaj, for example. There was an enormous furore [around him]. But there’s a player who basically hasn’t reached the level where he’d be knocking on England’s door.

“Jack Grealish was the opposite situation at the time. It was touch and go whether he would agree to go to Ireland or take a chance with England.

“That was quite a bold step he took because at the time Martin O’Neill [the Ireland manager] was virtually saying to him, ‘You come to us, you’re in the first team’. All we were saying was, ‘if you sign up with us, there’s no place for you at the moment, but we do believe in you’.

“Luckily he took the England step. I think that could be the situation with Aaron. I would like to see him hold on. I would like to see him wait a bit longer.

“At the moment there’s big competition at right-back and he might not get into the team. Wilf was another good example.

“It’s always disappointing for me to see how England did miss out to use Wilf Zaha.

Getty Images
Getty Images

“I’m hoping Aaron will be patient and not dive straight in to play for an African nation.

“Like a lot of players, there’s a background with the Democratic Republic of Congo but it’s not a country he’s actually lived in.

“England is the country he’s lived in, grown up in and played all his football in so it would be nice if he can dedicate his skills to England. I’ll keep my fingers crossed."

Wan-Bissaka returns to Selhurst Park with United on Wednesday night, and his former manager has been impressed by how the full-back has grown since departing south London.

“He’s developing extremely well," said Hodgson. "There’s no doubt he’s improving.

“His ability on the ball has definitely improved. He’s getting forward a lot more than perhaps he was able to with us because he didn’t have the same players around him here that he now has at Man United.

“His defending is still as good as ever. He’s one of the best one-v-one defenders in the league, that’s well documented. I certainly don’t see any diminishing of his powers in that respect."

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