Solskjaer and AC Milan boss agree on Man Utd’s “right-back for a decade”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is seemingly in full agreement with AC Milan boss Stefano Piolo over the promising potential of full-back Diogo Dalot.

The 22-year-old has been flourishing on loan at the San Siro this season and came off the bench against his parent club in Thursday’s Europa League clash.

Dalot’s future at Old Trafford had looked uncertain following the arrival of Aaron Wan-Bissaka – who United splashed out £50million to sign.

But it wasn’t so long ago that United were forking out £19m on the teenage Dalot, who former Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho always believed was destined for success.

“Everybody knows that he has fantastic potential,” Mourinho said in 2018. “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.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been pleased with Diogo Dalot’s development at Milan

“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.”

Mourinho added that “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.”

Dalot’s United career hasn’t quite followed that blueprint since, with Wan-Bissaka taking over the right-back role on a regular basis.

Injury problems have hampered his availability, but he is now gaining confidence and vital first-team minutes at Milan, where boss Pioli has been delighted with his contribution.

Dalot came on as a sub during Thursday's defeat to his parent club United
Dalot came on as a sub during Thursday’s defeat to his parent club United

“He has characteristics similar to [Milan left-back] Theo [Hernandez], he has also grown in the defensive phase, he will become a complete player,” Pioli said.

Dalot has started 17 of his 23 appearances for Milan so far this season, with Pioli impressed with his versatility.

“Us managers really like to have flexible players, then at a certain moment it would be useful to give him a definitive position to make him more aware of the situations on the pitch,” he added.

It will come as pleasant news to Solskjaer, who is keen for Dalot to get back to Manchester in the summer when his loan deal expires, having dismissed any suggestions the defender would be leaving the club.

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And he seems to share Pioli’s view that Dalot has improved markedly this season ahead of his impending return.

“The plan was always for Diogo this season, or the main thing for Diogo, was to be fit,” Solskjaer said ahead of the clash with Milan last week.

“He never managed to be fit for a long spell when he was here and was unfortunate with injuries.

“Now he’s kept fit all season; he’s been available for them. He’s playing at a big club, big expectations and a great history, so it’s been a good year for him.

“So, of course, I’ve been very pleased with his development this season. He’s our player and we’re looking forward to having him back.”

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