Matteo Darmian said in the summer that he wanted to leave Manchester United, with a return to Italian football his most likely destination.
The Italian has Ashley Young, club captain Antonio Valencia and summer signing Diogo Dalot for competition for a starting right-back berth and stated that a lack of gametime last season was behind his desire to leave.
Both Valencia and Dalot have been affected by injuries at the start of this season, but both were passed fit to face Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.
Mourinho’s strange decisionJose Mourinho knew the right-back he selected to face the Eagles would need to deal with the dual threat of Max Meyer cutting in from the left and Palace talisman Wilfried Zaha drifting wide into that area.
But with his captain and second most expensive summer capture available to take on that tricky task, Mourinho opted to bring Darmian in from the cold.
The Italian didn’t do too badly, but Zaha and Andros Townsend were able to cause problems and United were fortunate not to lose the match.
Where does that leave Darmian now?Recalling a player who has expressly said he wants to leave and who hasn’t played much this season merely extends Mourinho’s habit of chopping and changing his first-team plans.
The theory is to create chaos and uncertainty which drives all the players on to nail down their place but in reality, it reveals that Mourinho is a manager nearly two and a half seasons into a job with no clear idea of his best team or a core identity.
For Darmian, it likely doesn’t change much and Mourinho will hope that Dalot can come in and take the reigns at right-back moving forward.
The weekend decision was just another strange one from the manager.