Diogo Dalot was a late call up to Portugal’s international squad on Sunday.

Dalot was called into the Euro 2020 squad after City right-back Joao Cancelo tested positive for Covid.

Manchester United prospect Dalot has now joined up with the Portugal squad ahead of their opening game on Tuesday.

Portugal Training Session and Press Conference - UEFA European Under-21 Championship 2021
(Photo by Damjan Zibert – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Speaking to the media, Dalot has explained how he was in Dubai on his holidays when he got the call.

He had just recently arrived after featuring for Portugal’s under-21s in the European Championship, in which his side lost the final to Germany.

Dalot told Sapo Desporto: “It was a ridiculous episode, I was on vacation. I received a call from Portugal, I was going to a restaurant… As soon as I got the call it was a special moment. I’ve been dreaming of being in the A team for a long time and for me it was a I’m really proud of it. No doubt I was very happy.”

He said he spoke personally to Cancelo and there were no hard feelings from the City defender.

Dalot said: “The circumstances are not the best for João. I had the opportunity to talk to him. Without a doubt, having his support at a time like this is fantastic. He is a great example for me, for all he has done and has already done in our team . I wish him well.

“I had a little less than a week to rest, but I’m here body and soul, physically ready to help the national team.”

 

Dalot’s holiday may have been cut short, but these are not the type of calls you turn down. A place at Euro 2020 looked unlikely through the season and this has come as a pleasant surprise.

Even if Dalot is just an extra body in the squad and does not play, this tournament will be great experience for the 22-year-old.

Dalot has an uncertain future at United and this also raises his profile, which could help attract bidders in the summer, or even convince Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to give him another chance.

He ended the season in good form for AC Milan and this played a part in his call-up, along with his under-21 tournament involvement. Dalot had been eligible for that competition as he was in the age range when the tournament began.

Spain v Portugal - 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Semi-finals
(Photo by Grega Valancic/MB Media/Getty Images)

Manager backs Dalot

Portugal boss Fernando Santos explained the decision to call Dalot into the squad.

Santos spoke at his press conference and told A Bola: He has quality, he is playing at a high level in terms of clubs [Milan] and then he was in competition six days ago. 

“It’s an important fact, when the others who were closer to being called, and who also have quality, have been out of the competition for a month and a half. It would be difficult to get here with the necessary pace.”

Dalot has never been capped by Portugal and while his call up is a bit of a surprise, it is an opportunity he will want to seize.

Portugal face Hungary tonight and then play against Germany and then France in a tough group as they look to retain their Euro 2016 crown.

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