Why hasn’t Matteo Darmian succeeded at Old Trafford?


The Italian arrived at Manchester United back in the summer of 2015 with the hope that he would finally be the answer to the problems the Reds have had at full-back over the past few years. He was somewhat of an unknown quantity as Italian players rarely make the switch from Serie A to the Premier League.

But Matteo Darmian’s performance in the World Cup against England the summer before showed that the former Torino man was a man for the big occasion and he was not going to be daunted with playing at the Theatre of Dreams. His versatility to play on either flank as well as being able to play at centre-back was something that convinced then United boss Louis van Gaal to bring Darmian to Old Trafford.

His talents shone in Italian football as both a defender and an attacking full-back. In the season prior to Darmian joining United, he won more tackles per game than any other team-mate at Torino but also was the player who made the second most chances. So Van Gaal and fans alike felt Darmian was sure to be a success at United.

However, it hasn’t turned out to as successful as first hoped. He made his Premier League debut against Tottenham, with Van Gaal hailing the Italian as being the best player on the pitch. Darmian, had a wonderful start to his career at Old Trafford, with also picking up United’s player of the month in his very first month at the club. Darmian went on to make 28 Premier League appearances for the Reds in his first season, the highlight coming when he came on as a substitution in the FA Cup final win in May against Crystal Palace.

But since Mourinho has arrived at Old Trafford, Darmian’s appearances have been somewhat limited, with him only playing in cup competitions or as cover for injuries. The full-back positions are now filled by former wingers in Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young, which just emphasises the fact that Mourinho obviously doesn’t fancy him as a United player.

So why has the Italian failed to make the grade at Old Trafford? Both last summer and in the transfer window just gone, there has been a whole host of big teams from around Europe keen on taking Darmian from Old Trafford. They must see something in the 28-year-old that he has failed to show Mourinho and United fans.

However, when the full-back has been picked to play in recent games, especially this season, he has failed to impress, and questions over his future have been addressed by fans. After his appearance in the 2-1 defeat to Bristol City back in December fans turned on the Italian after he appeared to be at fault for the goal that knocked United out.

It was also reported that soon after Mourinho arrived at Old Trafford, himself and Darmian fell out, which could explain the reason for the lack of appearances. Although, his lack of games for United could just be simply but down to the form of the players in his position. Antonio Valencia has cemented his role at right-back over the last couple of years, ahead of Darmian, and there is now a fair amount of cover at left-back.

Darmian can still be a good squad player for United, but it is more than likely that the Italian will be sold in the summer, and Mourinho will look to find a well-established full back from around Europe. It is a shame because when he first arrived, he had a lot of potential to be a success, but unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out for both Darmian and United.

Written by Dan Pearce

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