When Manchester United signed Diogo Dalot from Porto back in the summer of 2018, it was seen as a major coup by the club, especially by then manager Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese man waxed lyrical about the youngster’s ability and potential, saying: “In his age group, he is the best full-back in Europe. He is an extremely talented young defender with all the qualities to quickly become a great player for this club.
“He has all the attributes that a full-back needs: physicality, tactical intelligence and technical quality, combined with a Porto academy mentality which prepares players for the maturity they need at the professional level.”
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Fast forward a couple of years though, and Dalot’s career at Old Trafford has somewhat stalled, with the big-money signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka last summer putting him further behind in the pecking order.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has played the now 21-year-old just 28 times since he took over the job as United boss from Mourinho, although it must be said that Dalot’s injuries (particularly this season) have surely played its part too.
But against Norwich in the FA Cup quarter-final on Saturday afternoon, the Portugal youth international showed exactly why he could still go on to prove Mourinho right over these coming years.
Replacing Wan-Bissaka in that right-back role, Dalot was one of the stand-out performers in a United team that weren’t exactly at their best. As per Sofascore, his 7.6 match rating was only bettered by Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes, and when looking at his numbers, it’s clear to see why.
He completed both of his attempted dribbles, made five successful long balls out of five, had an incredible 97% pass accuracy, and won every single duel on the ground (5/5).
If Solskjaer continues to rotate his squad from now until the end of the season, then Dalot must seize his chance to finally prove to both the Norwegian and his former manager, Mourinho, that he can deliver on his promise.