Erik ten Hag has challenged the in-form Aaron Wan-Bissake to claim a spot in the starting line-up and hailed the extra competition he creates for Manchester United at right-back.
The defender has played just three times in all competitions under the Dutchman this season, battling illness and injury.
Wan-Bissaka has been linked with a January departure from Old Trafford, with former club Crystal Palace among his suitors.
But United’s impressive performance since returning to the Premier League against Nottingham Forest appears to have breathed new life into his Red Devils career.
Ahead of his team’s trip to Wolverhampton on Saturday, Ten Hag indicated that Wan-Bissaka’s absence had more to do with fitness than form.
“You should be on the field [to impress],” he said. “In the first half of the season, he was either injured or sick, so [he] did not play a role in the squad.
“I think the break did him good. He returned with an under-20 camp in Spain and played a few games. Now he is doing well.
“I am pleased with his performance. We need this competition in our team. He must play team games and they [he] can develop [he] can grow.”
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One player who will not be playing for United this season is Cody Gakpo, after the transfer target instead fixed a move to Premier League rivals Liverpool from PSV.
With the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo in November, the need for additional strikers remains a matter to be resolved, but Ten Hag is confident in his current squad, in particular young Alejandro Garnacho.
The teenager has made some unforgettable impressions as a substitute this season and the Dutchman feels he can continue to rely on the Argentine youth player.
“We need a kick off the bench,” he added. “They’re in the offensive department. You need players coming off the bench who will influence the game or at least keep the wind on your side.”