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Man Utd star Wan-Bissaka wanted to be Henry before becoming a £50m right-back

15:02 BST 24/10/2019
Aaron Wan-Bissaka Manchester United 2019-20
A defender who secured a big-money move to Old Trafford over the summer admits he had dreams of being a striker in the mould of an Arsenal legend

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is now a £50 million ($65m) right-back on the books at Manchester United, but he admits his initial plan when working through the ranks was to become a forward in the Thierry Henry mould.

As a south London native, a player who emerged through the academy system at Crystal Palace did not have to look far across the English capital for inspiration when growing up.

World Cup winner Henry was a Premier League star at Arsenal, becoming the club’s all-time leading goalscorer in the process of redefining what a prolific frontman can be.

Wan-Bissaka had hoped to follow in the Frenchman’s footsteps, becoming a man to find the target rather than keep opponents out, but the ability to get stuck in ultimately saw him charged with duties in the defensive third of the field.

"Growing up I looked up to Henry," the 21-year-old told Joe.

"I just like goals, I liked the way he scored goals. I always pictured myself scoring goals when I was younger.

"I trained there (at right-back) a few times because Palace needed players in that position, that's when they noticed how good I am at tackling and defending."

Wan-Bissaka required just one full season of senior football with the Eagles to earn himself a big-money move to Old Trafford.

A hefty price tag and lofty expectations in Manchester mean the pressure is on him to deliver with the Red Devils.

The highly-rated England U21 international is, however, convinced that he can make his mark.

He said on settling in to new surroundings: "It's been different but I knew I was up for a new challenge, a new area, a different life.

"I've adapted well here, settled in quite quickly with the team. They (team-mates) have been great to me."

Wan-Bissaka also claims to be benefitting from spending every day working alongside the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, rather than against them.

He added: "When you know you're coming up against them... you know it's going to be a hard test but that's going to make me better person.

"Every session helps a lot, whether they go past me or they don't, it still helps and it allows me to expect who I'm going to be up against during a Premier League game."

Having overcome an unfortunate injury problem, Wan-Bissaka made a welcome return to action for United in their 1-1 draw with Liverpool last time out and has now taken in eight appearances across all competitions in total for the Red Devils.