Remember back in early July when Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams got injured and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer chose to go with Timothy Fosu-Mensah at left-back?
Well, that was a decision which left Diogo Dalot out in the cold and signified a lack of faith from manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Dalot made only one Premier League start in 2019/20 and down the pecking order.
He made a loan switch to AC Milan on transfer deadline day and last night he put in a man-of-the match performance in the Europa League against Sparta Prague.
Dalot was selected at left-back in place of Theo Hernandez.
Speaking before the game, Dalot told TMW: “Playing right or left doesn’t change. I play where the coach asks me to play.”
Dalot did exactly what he was asked to do, and more, providing an assist and a goal in a near perfect display as Milan won 3-0 at the San Siro.
He completed 89 per cent of his passes, scored with his only shot on goal, while making two tackles and three interceptions.
While it was his attacking play which really shone, keeping a clean sheet was just as valuable.
Manager Stefano Pioli told TMW after the game: “He can play both left and right, this is an advantage for him and also for the team. Dalot is a young strong guy.”
United made a smart decision
If Dalot stayed at United, he would have been sat on the bench despite his versatility to play both flanks.
Perhaps next year, that will not be the case. Dalot needs this season to build up his confidence, consistency, and fitness.
His attacking quality has the potential to set him apart from both Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
The biggest problem in his two seasons at United to date is that he has begun injured both times. Fortunately he has been able to hit the ground running at Milan.
The Italian side are a team in form, unbeaten to start the season, and this is shaping up to be a great experience for the Portuguese full-back.
It would have been easy for United to cash in too, and demand a fee in a summer where sales were hard to come by.
Instead United smartly only permitted a loan deal, with no purchase clause.
Dalot is still only 21, and this performance last night alone showed that selling him would have been a big error.
United are in control of his future, with his current deal running until 2023 with an extra option until 2024.
This loan is looking like a masterstroke, because at this rate United will get back a stronger, better player next season and beyond.
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