Squad rotation has been key for clubs since football resumed, with managers in the Premier League taking full advantage of the new five-substitute rule.
Clubs have entered a hectic fixture list since returning to action, particularly those who are still active in more than one competition. This has been the case for Manchester United, who have not only encountered five league games in three weeks, but also a 120 minute FA cup tie against Norwich City.
The game at Carrow Road saw a much-changed XI take to the field. Seven new faces were drafted in by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who granted an opportunity for selected fringe players to impress.
One of which, was Diogo Dalot. The Portuguese international has fallen out of the picture since the summer signing and revelation of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, starting just once in the Premier League this season. His cameo in the cup did little to suggest that such fortunes would change though, with his defensive positioning coming into question multiple times.Embed from Getty Images
Dalot’s 1v1 ability is no doubt inferior to Wan-Bissaka, not just because the Englishman is the most efficient tackler in the country, but because the former is a rash decision maker. Although the 21-year-old is productive in bringing the ball forward down the flank, his defensive attributes, or lack of for that matter, have made him quite a liability in the squad.
Although it wasn’t a disastrous display against Norwich, Dalot did very little to impress. He has failed to make United’s Premier League match-day squad on the last eight occasions, with speculation beginning to mount about his future.
What has been even more telling, is Solskjaer’s recent utilisation of Brandon Williams. The Englishman has been brought on as a sub at right-back twice since the restart, fuelling speculation that he is now the prominent cover for Wan-Bissaka. Williams’ strengths lie with his defensive capabilities, and is certainly seen as the more trusting figure by the manager.
If Dalot is not even considered a backup, one does have to wonder what the future holds for the youngster, particularly given Ole’s ruthlessness to remove unwanted figures from the squad. To add more fuel to the fire, Ethan Laird has recently been promoted into the first-team picture. one of the club’s most promising full-backs to emerge from the academy.