Alexander Büttner made his first appearance in a Manchester United shirt tonight against Tottenham Hotspur in the U21s league at Moss Lane.
The left-back was brought in as back up to the ever present Patrice Evra but with the Frenchman becoming a defensive liability these days, the opportunity for him to stake a claim on the starting spot is there if he earns it.
In the first half, I have to say that I was extremely impressed with Büttner’s performance. He showed his fantastic pace with his bursts forward to join the attack and looked an extremely confident lad on the ball. An incisive run inside to the edge of the box and a clever first time pass out wide to Robbie Brady was his moment of the half.
He continued the second half in the same fashion and immediately rescued United with a headed clearance off the line, showing great awareness and positioning. He coped well with Tottenham’s pressing after they brought the game back to 2-1 and a fantastic sliding tackle right at the end epitomised his good defensive display.
He also stepped up to the plate to take on free kick duties. Considering it was his debut, it was a fantastic show of confidence. His shot was hit with ferocious venom but it unfortunately clipped the top of the wall.
For those who were worrying about Alexander Büttner leaving the defence exposed by attacking too often, he showed great discipline tonight, knowing when to bomb forward and when to hold his position.
He has a lot of pace, power and technique for a left-back. Interestingly enough, Büttner began his career as a left winger but was converted into a left-back in the same fashion as Jordi Alba was, and look how impressive he is.
At 23, Büttner is the perfect age to challenge Evra. He has come to United knowing that he will have a challenge on his hands if he wants first team football and this competition for places will hopefully put an end to Evra’s complacency. Although, judging from the quality of his performance tonight, we may see him in the first team far sooner than expected.