Andre Onana has settled in really well at Manchester United and is perfect for Erik ten Hag’s chosen style of play, according to his team-mate Tom Heaton.
Onana joined United for £43.9million from Inter Milan to replace David de Gea as the club’s number one goalkeeper. He worked under Ten Hag at Ajax and has been recruited to carry out the Dutchman’s vision of playing out from the back.
The Cameroon international joined his new team on their pre-season tour in the United States and made his Old Trafford debut in the 3-1 win over Lens on Saturday. That game didn’t go to plan, with the French side taking the lead by lobbing Onana from distance.
Despite the rocky start, Heaton says that Onana has made a real impact behind the scenes. “He has been great. He is a real good lad and a great character,” Heaton told MUTV.
“I have really enjoyed the style of his play, I think he will suit this manager and how he wants to play really well.
“Hopefully I can learn a bit from him. I know I am getting older but I am always trying to develop and evolve. Hopefully I can offer him something about Premier League football and the requirements and the different challenges. He and I have got on really well so far and I am looking forward to working with him and competing with him.”
As a back-up goalkeeper, Heaton will work with Onana on the training pitch at Carrington. The 37-year-old veteran wore the captain’s armband for the 1-1 draw against Athletic Club in a friendly on Sunday.
Heaton was chosen as captain ahead of Harry Maguire, who was stripped of the armband by Ten Hag earlier in the summer. The England defender has endured a difficult time since Ten Hag arrived and was on the receiving end of a verbal volley from Onana, which showed his own leadership skills.
Onana came on as a half-time substitute during the 3-2 defeat by Borussia Dortmund and immediately let Maguire know of his presence. Onana saved one-on-one against Sebastien Haller before screaming at Maguire and his defence to step up their game.
United’s new number one clearly has the mentality Ten Hag is looking for, as well as the talent on the pitch. After being lobbed against Lens, the goalkeeper gave an impressive interview in which he held up his hands for the goal.
“Like I always say, I am responsible for everything, especially when we concede goals,” Onana told MUTV. “I’m the big man at the back so I take all the criticism, all the responsibility is on me.”
He added: “I’m happy for the win. Of course we can always be better. Some things we have to try to fix. It was a great game for me and for the guys, some important goals and I’m happy for everything.” -Mirror