Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Diogo Dalot Can Play Together on Right

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJuly 18, 2019

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 13: Aaron Wan-Bissaka of Manchester United in action during the match between the Perth Glory and Manchester United at Optus Stadium on July 13, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Paul Kane/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is sure Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot can both offer useful options down the right flank in the season to come. 

Each player got 45 minutes during Wednesday's 4-0 pre-season friendly win over Leeds United, after which Solskjaer told reporters he was happy with the options they give him:

"We're trying to build a squad that can have a long life. And with Diogo and Aaron we have got two right-backs that will be very good players.

"Diogo can play right wing and has probably gone from right-back to being able to play right wing. And Aaron has been right wing that can play right-back.

"They can give us good options on the right and Ashley can play both sides. He's played in the World Cup last summer for England at left-back and he can push Luke and Aaron and Diogo, no bother."

It was suggested 2018 signing Dalot, 20, could be left behind following the £45 million arrival of Wan-Bissaka. Solskjaer's predecessor, Jose Mourinho, signed his fellow Portuguese from Porto last summer in a deal worth around £19 million.

Wan-Bissaka, 21, on the other hand, is a young, English talent who has just moved to Old Trafford for more than twice that cost, meaning there's likely a lot more pressure to ensure he gets minutes and is a success.

The signs have been promising early on in his United tenure. Statman Dave lauded a balanced outing in the victory over Leeds in Perth, Australia:

Statman Dave @StatmanDave

Aaron Wan-Bissaka vs. Leeds: 100% duels won 100% aerials won 73% pass accuracy 4 interceptions 2 key passes 1 assist Registered his first assist in red. 🕷 https://t.co/MLeFs8fnIm

Solskjaer has fielded Dalot as a winger at times since he took over in December, and it may be that Wan-Bissaka's move means the Portuguese adapts to that role more regularly. However, the Norwegian is correct in that it's important to develop a strong level of competition for each position.

Blogger Hesham Bilal-Hafiz predicted in March that Dalot would be consigned to the waste pile in the event Wan-Bissaka arrived at Old Trafford:

Hesham Bilal-Hafiz @hesham786

Interesting question for you, if we sign Wan Bissaka what happens to Dalot? Surely AWB would have the RB position on lockdown for years then, Dalot isn’t good enough to be a starting RW, we will buy a specialist attacker for that. So I really don’t know how he would start. #mufc

It didn't help Dalot that his maiden season in England was stunted by several injury setbacks. The Portugal under-21 international recently told Inside United of his hope to play as much as possible in defence (h/t the club's website):

"At the end of the season, the results were not what we wanted. But I can say it was a big season for me.

"Playing 23 games, and I only started playing properly and had my fitness in December, so it has been very good for me to have the opportunity to play in some different positions.

"I want to make my statement in the team and play as much as I can at right-back because I think it's my best position. I just need to prove that to the manager with my work."

Dalot sent out a message of intent the day after Wan-Bissaka's transfer to United was confirmed:

Diogo Dalot @DalotDiogo

Nothing but hard work, waiting for the new season to kick off! ✅ @ManUtd 🔴⚫ https://t.co/LsLrIJMc2X

The manager's remarks regarding his hopes for a squad with a "long life" suggests he's happy having two promising options in that area, though that dynamic may not suit the players in the long term.

Neither youngster is the finished article, but Wan-Bissaka and Dalot seem destined to play out the 2019-20 campaign duelling for United's starting right-back spot.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.