Four years since Diogo Dalot's United debut

Monday 19 September 2022 07:00

Today marks four years since Diogo Dalot made his debut for Manchester United. Now an established part of the senior team, the Portuguese right-back has shone under Erik ten Hag’s tutelage this season, playing a vital role in our improved form.

Dalot’s United career so far is defined by fight, character and a willingness to improve. Brought to the club by Jose Mourinho in June 2018, his first-team debut would be delayed until September due to a lengthy knee injury.

He first stepped out in United red during the 3-0 Champions League victory over Young Boys. Dalot played the full 90 minutes, keeping a clean sheet alongside Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw at the back.
Diogo's United bow came away to Young Boys, on matchday one of the 2018/19 Champions League group stage.
Just one week later, Dalot appeared in front of the Old Trafford crowd for the first time, once again playing the entire match in the Carabao Cup defeat to Derby County, a game which saw us knocked out on penalties after going down to 10 men with 20 minutes of normal time left to play.

Many fans will remember Dalot’s most famous moment of his debut season, which saw him accumulate 23 appearances across all competitions. The defender pinged a wicked shot onto the arm of Presnel Kimpembe during the Champions League quarter-final showdown against Paris Saint-Germain, winning the penalty that would write goalscorer Marcus Rashford into United folklore and complete a famous comeback triumph on aggregate, in the French capital.
Dalot went on to score his first United goal in January 2020. He brilliantly broke into Tranmere’s box and fired home an unstoppable shot as United ran out 6-0 winners during a memorable FA Cup win.

Later that year, he secured a loan move to Milan for the 2020/21 campaign. This proved to be an excellent decision for the youngster as he gained vital experience in both Serie A and the Europa League. Our no.20 helped Milan secure a Champions League spot before heading to the European Championships with Portugal.

Ralf Rangnick’s arrival signalled a turning point in Dalot’s game time at Old Trafford. The flourishing right-back was trusted with more responsibility and began to build a sense of momentum during a difficult season for the Reds. It’s momentum that he has carried into Ten Hag’s era with great aplomb.
Diogo's first United goal came away to Tranmere, in January 2020.
Diogo has started every game for the Reds this season. He has formed a great relationship with Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane and Tyrell Malacia at the back and underlines the galvanised confidence in United’s squad after five wins in the last six games.

Ten Hag’s instructions continue to highlight Dalot’s strengths. Always willing to bomb forward and overlap, he is key to stretching the pitch. Dalot’s movement also links well with new signing Antony, who likes to cut inside and join the attack through the middle when space opens up.

The Portuguese defender's performance in the recent 1-0 win over Southampton was a great advert for what United fans have to look forward to. His perfectly timed run and pinpoint cross set up Bruno Fernandes’ fantastic winner, but at the other end, he put his body on the line to keep a physical Saints attack out.

At 23 years old and four years on from his Reds bow, Diogo now has 73 appearances for us to his name. Here’s to many more!