Diogo Dalot can grow into a reliable utility player at Manchester United

Twenty-year-old right-back Diogo Dalotquickly emerged into the conversations of Manchester United fans when he arrived last summer from FC Porto where he had already spent a large portion of his teenage years in the club’s youth system.

At Dalot’s young age he has already been through a similar upbringing to professional football as Marcus Rashfordhas gone through, albeit Rashford having about a year and a half on Dalot. While Dalot is still quite young, especially for a fullback coming into the Premier League, he is on pace for becoming a trusted utility player by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

While Dalot is primarily a right-back, he has also been placed into positions outside of his comfort zone. Dalot already has a few games under his belt as left-back, as he had already made six appearances with FC Porto, primarily in the Liga NOS. However, Dalot did also make a UEFA Champions League appearance with Porto, as well as an appearance in Portugal’s domestic cup competition, the Taça de Portugal Placard. 

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Dalot has also made a left-back appearance for United in the Premier League. While seven total appearances are not enough to automatically guarantee that Dalot is a perfect fit at left-back, especially with only one of them being at United, it is a strong sign that the potential is there for Dalot to be able to be plugged in at the position if need be.

It is also worth mentioning that in his seven total appearances at left-back, he has managed four assists, one of them being in his lone Premier League left-back appearance against Brighton and Hove Albion. On top of these appearances on the left, Dalot has also added a few games at left-midfield to his CV, making four appearances on Porto’s B team where he netted one goal and managed two assists.

Outside of the right-back position that Dalot is mainly used to, he has also played a fair amount of time at the right-midfield position. The twenty-year-old Portuguese national arrived at United with twelve appearances already under his belt at FC Porto. Dalot made all of the twelve appearances during his spell on the club’s B team, and has also made four appearances in midfield at United. 

His qualifications at this position are a little bit more impressive, as he has clocked just over twelve-hundred minutes on the pitch between both clubs, and on the right Dalot has moved even further up the right side of the pitch. Dalot made his debut appearance at right-wingagainst Crystal Palace at the end of February, playing seventy-seven minutes up front for the then injury-ridden squad.

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While Diogo Dalot does still have a long road ahead of him to prove his worth as a full-time starter for United, his ability to move outside of his comfort zone and perform in unfamiliar positions. Even though he still may have to prove himself at United in many of these positions, the evidence is there that he has the potential to do it.

The other thing that is critical to this happening is Dalot’s attitude, which appears to be in the right state as he has told the official Manchester United website; 

“I just enjoy playing. It can be on the right-wing, left-wing, in goal, I just want to play.”

With an attitude like that and the young age of Dalot, the young defender is in a perfect position to develop himself into a trusted utility player who can come into many different positions during times of large amounts of injury, as was the case in late February, and early March.

It also would seem as though injuries are just one of those bad luck curses that the superstitious of the fanbase believe effects United, so the chances may be pretty good that Dalot will get many chances to prove his adaptability at United.

Written by Joel Dulka

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