In a promising senior debut for Manchester United, academy graduate Willy Kambwala showcased his skills during the 2-0 Premier League defeat to West Ham United on Saturday.

The 19-year-old unexpectedly earned a spot in the starting lineup, partnering with Jonny Evans in the heart of the defense, as Raphael Varane was sidelined due to illness.

Kambwala started confidently, making an adventurous run forward and quickly settling into the game. His comfort with the ball at his feet was evident.

Throughout 84 minutes of play, the young talent impressively accumulated 92 touches, completing 75 out of 89 passes.

He also delivered two successful long balls and made three crucial clearances.

Despite the team conceding two goals, our assessment suggests that the 6ft 4in ace was not at fault for either, indicating a solid performance that should encourage manager Erik Ten Hag to consider starting him again.

With little time to dwell on the West Ham result, Manchester United will face Aston Villa on Boxing Day, a team currently occupying third place in the league standings.

The Red Devils, who have gone over six hours without scoring, must break this goal drought when hosting Unai Emery’s side at Old Trafford.

In the recent match at the London Stadium, Alejandro Garnacho had a golden opportunity to open the scoring, highlighting the need for clinical finishing from the players.

The upcoming Tuesday game against Aston Villa appears to be a must-win, as the gap to the top four has already widened to eight points.

Another unfavorable result could raise questions about Ten Hag’s future.

In the absence of Varane, Kambwala might find himself in the starting XI again. Fans will be hopeful for Varane’s return to bolster the defensive mix.

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