Ole Gunnar Solskjær spoke to the press ahead of Manchester United’s trip to the London Stadium to face West Ham in the Premier League and hinted that right-back Diogo Dalot could get some opportunities in the near future after impressing in his cameo from the bench against Young Boys on Tuesday in the Champions League.
The 22-year-old experienced a year on loan in Italy last season, with Brandon Williams being the back-up right-back in Solskjær’s squad. The manager claimed that Dalot needed to remain fit for a prolonged period of time before he could fight for a position in the team at Old Trafford. Speaking in March earlier this year, Solskjær was clearly happy with how the loan move was going for the right-back.
“The plan was always for Diogo this season, or the main thing for Diogo, was to be fit. He never managed to be fit for a long spell when he was here [and was] unfortunate with injuries.” Solskjær stated.
“Now he’s kept fit all season; he’s been available for them. He’s playing at a big club, big expectations, [with the] great history of the club, so it’s been a good year for him. So, of course, I’ve been very pleased with his development this season, and he’s our player and we’re looking forward to having him back.”Embed from Getty Images
Now, six months later, Dalot will have a part to play for The Red Devils as he looks to challenge Aaron Wan-Bissaka for the right-back spot. After his successful spell at AC Milan and a call-up to the national team for Euro 2020, Solskjær wants to utilise the different qualities that Dalot possess as a more naturally offensive full-back.
The Portuguese could be a good option when United are controlling matches and want a real outlet on the right side, as he has more intensity in his runs and movement than United’s no.29. While he’s also looked to have improved his defensive game as he’s developed, something that was heavily criticised in previous years.
“Yeah Diogo has had a very good summer with being called up to Euros, he did well for Portugal Under-21s and had a season on loan that learnt a lot from in Milan. He kept fit, which was a big thing. And he’s got qualities that we look at trying to exploit more and more, of course he’s got more experience.” Solskjær proclaimed.Embed from Getty Images
While summer rumours suggested that Dalot could’ve went back out on loan this season, the United manager states that this isn’t what he wanted to do as Dalot has the benefits from his time with AC Milan last season. With games coming in thick and fast, and Wan-Bissaka’s European ban, Dalot will certainly have a part to play for United after he impressed in his substitute performance on Tuesday.
“We’re not here just to loan out players for years and years. Last year’s loan was was to give him experience and game time and I think he did well when he came on the other night.” Solskjær stated when speaking about Dalot.
While his opportunities at United likely correlate with the fact that the club weren’t able to bring in the experienced Kieran Trippier, Dalot’s focus will be on challenging for a place in the side.
After Wan-Bissaka’s foolish red card the other day, there could be a chance for the Portuguese full-back to show that he can provide solid competition for the 23-year-old on the right side of the defence. It seems like Solskjær is happy with Dalot’s progress over the last year and he could have a role for United this year. How significant that role is will be based on what he shows in his performances.