New Crystal Palace coach Shaun Derry reveals how close he came to signing England and Manchester United star Aaron Wan-Bissaka

BY SAM SMITH

Shaun Derry has admitted that he almost signed a teenage Aaron Wan-Bissaka when he was manager of Cambridge United between 2015 and 2018.

But the former Crystal Palace midfielder – now the club’s professional development phase coach – felt the now Manchester United defender would have scarcely benefitted from what would have been a temporary move.

The 41-year-old had Wan-Bissaka and fellow Eagles youngster Noor Husin in his office at the League Two outfit, but decided the conditions of the club’s facilities would not have been much use to the development of the 21-year-old.

“Aaron and Noor Husin, they came to Cambridge [to sign on loan]. The window had shut, come signing point, we had spoken about them coming out of the academy environment and into a League Two environment. We took them to Cambridge.

“Aaron was a right winger at this point and we were looking for a right winger. He spent four days with us. He was late, we had no food after training because we had no food at the training ground.

“There was no gym, only one spin bike and one of the pedals was hanging off. The grass was horrendous.

“I was sat there thinking, ‘the only benefit he’s going to get from spending time with us is to see where it looks like where he doesn’t want to be’. [He would be thinking] ‘Why would I want to go to Cambridge where they haven’t got X, Y and Z?’. so, I’m guessing, he just came back here and whoosh, straight through the roof.

“That has value as well, to go and see different experiences. We were more concerned about trying to sign Noor than we were Aaron at the time. He came back [to Palace], found a new position, worked tirelessly every day. And the rest is history, isn’t it?”

Husin, 22, did not sign for Derry’s Cambridge either, instead spending a loan spell at Accrington Stanley in 2017 before being released by the South Londoners. He has since had a spell with Notts County and joined League Two Stevenage in the summer.

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