Home » Surprise starter Diogo Dalot has given Fernando Santos quite the selection headache

Surprise starter Diogo Dalot has given Fernando Santos quite the selection headache

by Ayantan Chowdhury

From a player close to being sold by former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to inspiring Portugal to the quarterfinals of the World Cup, Diogo Dalot is having a career-defining season.

As soon as Erik ten Hag was appointed, he quickly made the Portuguese his de-facto right back and the 23-year-old has not disappointed.

Dalot has started in all but one game for the Red Devils, missing the Fulham clash through suspension having accumulated five yellow cards.

Ten Hag has spoken glowingly of the young full-back and he was rightly picked for the Portugal World Cup squad. But his chances were low considering Joao Cancelo stood ahead of him in the queue.

And that is exactly how the tournament started with the Manchester City man starting the first two games, with Dalot given a watching brief.

Dalot stars for club & country

He did start against South Korea in the dead rubber and even got himself an assist but the thinking was he would have to do with a place on the bench for the Round of 16 tie against Switzerland.

But lo and behold! Fernando Santos gave the United man his first start of the competition and Dalot certainly made the most of it as the Portuguese ran riot, defeating the Swiss 6-1 on the night.

And according to Sofascore, Dalot got the joint second-highest match rating after hat-trick hero Goncalo Ramos, with an 8.2 out of 10.

The former Porto star was immaculate in his defensive responsibility and hardly put a foot wrong. He won 100% of his ground duels as well as one aerial duel.

Dalot also completed four successful tackles, blocked two shots and made one clearance and interception apiece. His goal-line clearance early on in the game ensured Portugal never let their advantage slip.

He was quite useful going forward as well. But with Raphael Guerreiro bombing forward at will, Dalot did the sensible thing by attacking when required, showing how he has matured this year.

Dalot set to start vs Morocco ?

The right-back had a total of 50 touches of the ball and completed the game with an impressive passing accuracy rate of 89% with 25 completed passes out of 28.

He also made one key pass and completed a 100% of his long balls.

Surprise packages Morocco will be up next for the Portuguese and Santos will once again have to choose between both Manchester-based players.

But Dalot will be quietly confident of retaining his place after the performance he put in.

From an United perspective, this bodes well ahead of the second half of the season and fans will be hoping Dalot returns and signs the contract extension soon.

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