Aaron Wan-Bissaka did an excellent job of containing Raheem Sterling during Man United’s 2-1 win over City, according to Kenny Cunningham.
The former Republic of Ireland international was on Monday’s OTB AM and praised the 22-year-old for his confident, aggressive performance on Saturday.
“The levels [Raheem] Sterling has been playing at - for the young lad to have that confidence [is impressive].
“When you say he’s really picked up the challenge, he was so aggressive in his defending. He can do that because he’s so quick.
“His recovery is so quick. He’s quite a long-legged lad but he absolutely eats up the ground. I’ve never seen a defender get as close to Sterling as when he had his first touch there,” Cunningham said.
The former Millwall man applauded Wan-Bissaka for taking a different approach than most to Sterling, showing no fear of the Man City man’s frightening pace.
“He knows as a full-back that if you get too close he’ll play a little combination and he plays it in behind you and you’re dead.
“Some very good defenders drop five yards off of him and maybe allow the winger or central midfielder to get across. Wait for the reinforcements to arrive. It’s almost a delay tactic for every fullback against him.
“Not Wan-Bissaka. He was aggressive, he was tight to him all the time and when he could make a tackle and make contact he did.
“He won the ball off him early on a number of attacks. But when Sterling plays that clever little one-two and the ball gets slid down the side as he’s had so much success.
“This lad backs himself in terms of recovery. His recovery is absolutely phenomenal,” Cunningham said.
While the United defender didn’t always come out the better man in his exchanges with Sterling, Cunningham felt like he certainly won more than most do.
“It’s like that go-go gadget leg when he recovers. He’s almost always sticking out a toe and leg to a tackle. So it was brilliant. It was a great contest.
“He didn’t win every one-to-one with Sterling but he won his fair share. It was a brilliant contest.
“For someone so young and someone so inexperienced in Premiership terms - it was an amazing performance I thought,” Cunningham said.