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Diogo Dalot already showing Manchester United what they've been missing?

Saturday 22nd September 2018

I think it's fair to say that when Manchester United made the move for Diogo Dalot he was a relative unknown. Not any longer.

After spending the summer sidelined through injury, the Old Trafford faithful had to wait patiently to see their new man in action. A few months and two U23s games later, the Red Devils supporters finally got their wish when the 19-year-old Dalot started against Young Boys in the Champions League.

Nobody knew what to expect. As is the case with youngsters, adjusting to life in a new country, learning a new language, adapting to a different style can be tough. The questions were raised, where would he fit in? Dalot has already made an extremely promising start.

Within minutes, we learned exactly what the former FC Porto man was about. Quick, strong, tough in the tackle, great with the ball at his feet while also possessing truly deadly crossing ability. All traits that avid United followers haven't really seen from the right-back spot over the last few years. Perhaps Dalot's biggest attribute though? A willingness to bomb forward and overlap the winger. He's already brought a new dimension to an attack that, let's be honest, has looked toothless at times.

The importance of the full-back has been highlighted by Manchester City. They spent big bucks on Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker last summer. Pep Guardiola is reaping the rewards and laughing at all the media members who lambasted him for dishing over £100million on the position(s). Sure, Dalot isn't a big-name signing as the aforementioned blue duo area. Sometimes, familiarity with the position outweighs talent and ability. Just look at the video below, if you've followed United recently, you'll know what I mean...

Now, I love Antonio Valencia. I think he's done excellently as a make-shift right-back. At 33, the Ecuadorian isn't getting any younger. Jose Mourinho needed another option as planning for the future got underway. Dalot is that man. He may well be playing far more football than anyone imagined this term; provided he can pick up where he left off on debut.

However, Valencia's pace is diminishing. He can no longer buccaneer up and down the right flank all game. I think the fact that he didn't make the trip to Switzerland to take on Young Boys is rather telling. His body is no longer once what it was. Dalot is young, fresh and ready to go. He stepped in admirably. It was the perfect start.

We have to remember, it is just the beginning. Dalot will need time. There will be games in which he struggles. He's young and still learning. Heck, I don't even think he's anywhere close to full fitness at this point. The good thing for the #20 is the fact that United will play games aplenty from now until Christmas. I don't think Dalot will start against Wolverhampton Wanderers this weekend, but you can bet he'll be in the team against Derby County on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup third round. He'll likely hold that spot down for all future games against lower league competition in the FA Cup's little brother.

It could even spur Valencia on. He's had little-to-no competition for three years. The 33-year-old has become comfortable in his role without being challenged or push. Dalot is an excellent signing in more ways than one. After just 90 minutes, the man from Portugal is already showing Manchester United what they've been missing.

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Jordan Street

Jordan Street, 25-year old sports writer. Avid Manchester United fan and season ticket holder. Lover of the Premier League. Enjoys American sports. Tom Brady's biggest admirer, Kyrie Irving for MVP.

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