Diogo Dalot Talks 'Perfect' Manchester United Competition with Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 20, 2019

Diogo Dalot of Manchester United during the UEFA Europa League group L match between AZ Alkmaar and Manchester United at Cars Jeans stadium on October 03, 2019 in The Hague, The Netherlands(Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images)
ANP Sport/Getty Images

Manchester United defender Diogo Dalot has said his competition with fellow right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the "perfect way to develop and grow."

Dalot, 20, has made only 26 senior appearances for the Red Devils since he joined from Porto in June 2018, with hip and groin injuries limiting the Portuguese to just three outings this season.

His United hopes appeared to take a hit when Wan-Bissaka, 22, joined from Crystal Palace this summer for an initial £45 million fee, but Dalot told Manchester United's official website the contest for places benefits him and the team:

“I've said it a couple of times—for me, it's the perfect way to develop and to grow. Talking about me of course, Aaron (Wan-Bissaka) is in a very good mood and is playing very well, and for me that makes me push harder and even harder. I like that.

"Like I have said, the easy way is always to run away from your problems. Of course, this is a good problem, not a bad problem.

"I think this will make me a better player, it will make Aaron a better player and make the team even better because this kind of competition is very good for the team.”

The Portugal under-21 international made his only top-flight appearance this season when United lost 1-0 away to Newcastle United on October 6.

At a press conference on Friday, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Dalot would turn out for the under-19 team, per BBC Sport's Simon Stone:

Simon Stone @sistoney67

OGS confirms Diogo Dalot will play in U-19s game v AC Milan tonight.

United's pair compete for the same spot but have contrasting playing styles, with Dalot functioning closer to a winger at times while Wan-Bissaka's strengths lie in defence.

Marca's Chris Winterburn highlighted the advantages of having such a steely presence on one side of the back line:

Chris Winterburn @cmwinterburn

Wan Bissaka may underwhelm in crossing situations when going forward, but defensively he has added so much to United’s team; and tonight was perhaps the clearest evidence of that. Sterling still got the better of him a couple of times, but he didn’t fold like wet tissue.

United paid Porto £19 million to recruit Dalot—no small sum for a teenager at the time—but the much heftier investment in Wan-Bissaka suggests he's the appointed first choice at right-back.

The Telegraph's JJ Bull said in April—prior to Wan-Bissaka's arrival—that it would spell bad news for Dalot if United spent more big money on another player in his position:

JJ Bull @jj_bull

@sood_akshat @TeleFootball @deanhenderson They have 2 - Young and Dalot. They spent £19m on Dalot, who should go onto be great. Alexander-Arnold made mistakes at the start too. OGS wants a LB who can run up the left wing, not Danilo 😹. Young can be backup to both. If they sign a £30m RB, Dalot's career = ⬇️

Dalot has to establish a consistent run of fitness before he can hope to challenge United's incumbent right-back star for a place, though his attitude to the competition will encourage coach Solskjaer.