Jose: Dalot could be our right-back for a decade
After impressing in his first two Premier League starts, Diogo Dalot has been tipped to have a bright future at Manchester United by his manager, Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese defender produced a positive display in the midweek draw with Arsenal and he built on this strong showing with a Man of the Match perfornance at Old Trafford against Fulham on Saturday.
Speaking to MUTV after United's convincing 4-1 win against the Cottagers, Mourinho argued that while Dalot is still in the early stages of his football career, he has all the makings of being a defender to be held in the same regard as Gary Neville.
“Everybody knows that he has fantastic potential,” Jose said.
“I don't want to compare, especially not the number of titles but he is probably the same age as Gary Neville when he came into the first team. Probably he can follow Neville in this dynamic of more than 10 years as United's right-back, with amazing conditions to improve, because as I was saying he's 19 years old.”
Indeed, Neville made his Premier League debut at the age of 19 years, two months and 22 days when Sir Alex Ferguson named him in the starting line-up for our final match of the 1993/94 season, against Coventry City, and he went on to make a further 399 appearances in the top flight - and 602 in all competitions - in a trophy-laden career with United.
There are further parallels that can be drawn between the two. Neville made his competitive debut for the Reds in the UEFA Cup against Torpedo Moscow in September 1992. In similar fashion, Dalot also made received his United bow in European competition. The boss named the Portuguese defender in the starting line-up for our 3-0 group stage victory against Young Boys in the Champions League.
However, despite Dalot's promising start, his boss is eager to manage expectations. The 19-year old arrived through the doors of Old Trafford having made a total of only eight appearances in all competitions for Porto.
Since he arrived though, he has overcome injury, made an appearance in the Champions League and in the last week has made his Premier League debut and back-to-back starts for the Reds in a bright month as the Christmas fixture list awaits.
With so many games to come, it is expected that Dalot will feature more as the manager is likely to rotate his squad to maintain fitness levels.
“He's a 19-year old boy,” the manager added,
“It's important not to forget that, not to demand from him super consistency, because he is a kid. He's just arrived in the Premier League and arrived after four or five matches in the Portuguese league - no more than that.”
“We are very happy,” Jose affirmed.
“Now it's December, normally he is going to get more opportunities to play, to get experience and to be what we thought when we bought him, which is he can be Manchester United's right-back for 10 years.”
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