Man Utd thrahsed LASK in the Europa League fixture on Thursday night and discovered a new defensive option while doing so.
It has been one of the strangest weeks in the entire history of Manchester United.
From derby elation, to potential self-isolation, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have been put through a range of emotions over the past seven days.
Throughout the entire experience they have stayed thoroughly professional and focused on the job in hand. Thursday night’s thrashing of LASK in front of an empty stadium was just as much as a challenge as facing their city rivals at Old Trafford the weekend earlier.
It is unclear when United will actually take to the field for a competitive fixture again but when they do so they’ll have a new option to consider at the back.
The thrashing in LASK might have highlighted the incredible attacking talent already at the club but Solskjaer will be just as pleased by the fact his side clung on to keep another clean sheet.
Sergio Romero was not tested in goal, but was protected formidably by both Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly as United recorded their ninth clean sheet in the last 11 matches.
However, it was the performance of young Brandon Williams which will have delighted Solskjaer as he deputised for Aaron Wan-Bissaka with an impressive display on the right.
Although he came through the youth system as a right back it was a first start there at senior level for Williams and he acquitted himself superbly with a mature display. Williams not only quelled attacks with his great positioning while on the back foot, but he complimented it with support out wide whenever his side were in possession.
Williams was so good he even earned a place in the Europa League team of the week – one of six United players to do so following the thrashing in Austria.
With Diogo Dalot yet to find his feet at Old Trafford and Ethan Laird still in need of further development before being first-team ready it is a great boost to Solskjaer that Williams was not fazed playing in a different role.
Luke Shaw’s excellent form at left-back rightfully gives him priority when the football finally resumes, but Williams has responded well to being dropped and is now putting pressure on both Shaw and Wan-Bissaka.
Speaking earlier in the week Solskjaer reiterated playing time would not be handed out on merit for the reason of the season and Williams is evidence of what rising to that challenge means. Nobody quite knows when United will next to take to the field, but their latest academy graduate has done everything right to deserve a place when they do.