Manchester United full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka has opened up on how his fledgling career almost ended before it began, years before his move to Old Trafford.
Wan-Bissaka burst onto the scene as a 20 year old with Crystal Palace, with eye-catching performances that earned him a £50m switch to United in 2019.
The youngster has now established himself as United’s right-back, becoming a regular fixture in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s set-up.
However, it could’ve been far different for the 23-year-old if he continued down the path he started to follow as a young player in south London.
You meet people from different areas and you want to do what they’re doing because it looks fun, so I kind of got dragged into that,” he told the Player’s Tribune.
“Playing with Crystal Palace, I started to not take it serious, stuff like diet. After school, I was there in the chicken and chip shop, fizzy drinks – the whole lot, you can name it.
“It was a crowd where they didn’t play football, so their situation wasn’t the same as mine, they didn’t have to go to training after school.
“I kind of got dragged into that. Palace spoke to my dad and they told me that it could be my last season.
“He spoke to me and I felt his pain, I felt it. Usually he’s lecturing me, but this one he was actually speaking to me and I’ve never seen him speak like that, so that’s when I knew it was serious. I thought this was my only chance, I can’t ruin it.”
Wan-Bissaka has now racked up a century of appearances at United, included 69 in the Premier League over the course of the past two seasons, missing just seven league matches in that time.