Since Ralf Rangnick arrived at Manchester United as interim manager, Diogo Dalot has seen a resurgence at Manchester United which no one could have expected.
Dalot went from being unable to get any minutes under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to replacing Aaron Wan-Bissaka as the starting right-back. At first, it seemed like he would just act as a stop-gap until the summer and then United could bring in a more long-term option to move forward with.
But as the Portuguese full-back continues to play more games under Rangnick, his performances continue to improve and it now looks like he could be the player that Jose Mourinho thought he would be when he bought the player back in 2018.
So, with the help of statistics taken from FBref, let’s look at three reasons why Dalot should remain United’s starting right-back past the summer window.
He’s still young
At 22-years-old (23 in March) Dalot still has a large chunk of his career ahead of him. United have been linked to other younger full-backs like Tariq Lamptey from Brighton but if the club decides to focus on the development of the Portuguese defender they could have a serious player on their hands.
Wan-Bissaka seems to be past the point where he can develop his game going forward and this is limiting him in United’s quest to be a side that is more comfortable in possession whereas Dalot would appear to still have a lot more room to grow.
He’s defensively solid
The major argument leveled against Dalot originally was that Wan-Bissaka was much more solid defensively but that is not necessarily backed up by the numbers.
Dalot registers 3.18 tackles per 90 minutes played alongside 2.02 interceptions and you’d expect given Wan-Bissaka’s reputation he would be much more successful in these metrics but the English right-back only registers 2.08 tackles per 90 minutes and 2.38 interceptions.
What may account for this is Wan-Bissaka has a high number of blocks per 90 minutes at 2.58 although he is prone to losing possession of the ball when he makes these blocks.
Another area Dalot also fares much better is in how he marks the far post. Wan-Bissaka has been regularly guilty of not following his man and allowing unnecessary chances to be created for the opposition but Dalot is much better in this regard and his positioning and awareness of him are improving game by game.
He’s improving going forward
In Rangnick’s system, Dalot seems to have been instructed to try and progress the ball from much deeper instead of trying to create in the final third, as opposed to Luke Shaw on the opposite side who has much more freedom to roam.
Dalot registers 4.14 progressive passes per 90 minutes played and 5.35 progressive carries. When Wan-Bissaka was deployed on the right-hand side, it seems teams gave the player space because they did not see him as a threat but with Dalot it seems the team is a lot more balanced in how it can attack.
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He is yet to register an assist but as Rangnick said in his press conference before the Southampton draw: “I think we are creating enough chances and enough opportunities in the last couple of games but we just didn’t score enough goals, but this is not only an issue with Cristiano, it’s an issue with the other players, especially the offensive players.
If Rangnick can nurture this, then the next manager will hopefully be able to take the right-back to the next level.
Would you be happy for Diogo Dalot to be Manchester United’s starting right back going forward into next season? Follow our United On My Mind writer Casey Evans on Twitter and get involved in the discussion in the comments section below.