Diogo Dalot will have been aggrieved when his Manchester United chances became severely limited. After all, the Portuguese full-back has done little wrong during his time at Old Trafford.
Unfortunately, the arrival of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and then Alex Telles, and the emergence of Brandon Williams, meant Dalot had to leave on loan.
Yet football sometimes throws out twists of fate and so it proved with last month’s Europa League draw. Dalot’s loan club AC Milan face United in the last-16, and the Portuguese is eligible to play against his parent-club.
That is all the motivation he will need to fight tooth-and-nail for a starting spot. Because, from there, he can show United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer what he can do for the first time in a while.
When United bought Dalot for £19million (BBC), he was tipped to be their first-choice right-back for the next decade. However, Solskjaer had other ideas, bringing in Wan-Bissaka and playing him 82 times to date.
With the England man just two years older than Dalot, the latter faces an almost-impossible task to get ahead. Yet this month’s European clashes give him the perfect stage to shine.
Dalot has played 19 times for Milan, scoring once and providing two assists thus far. While his league time has been sporadic, the United loanee has been a regular starter in Europe. And he will be hoping that continues.
An audition for a second chance
Dalot is eligible to play against United and it will be interesting to see him coming up against Luke Shaw or (more likely) Telles.
One thing that isn’t in doubt is Dalot’s attacking quality. He bombs forward with purpose and delivers dangerous crosses that United’s strikers should have done more with.
Still incredibly young, the future is bright for United’s Portuguese left-back. Only time will tell if that future is with the Red Devils.
It is a tough one for Solskjaer. He will want his loan players to shine yet, for two games, he will be desperate for one to flop.
Dalot will have other ideas and it will be an intriguing watch for United supporters.
If he proves why Jose Mourinho sanctioned that £19million move when he was just a teenager, it could lead to his employers’ cup exit. Only time will tell.