Diogo Dalot of Manchester United has been impressing at international level this year despite struggling to establish himself as a regular in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first XI.
As reported here last week, the Portuguese defender had a successful Euro Under 21 campaign in June that led to his being called up for the senior side for Euro 2020 following João Cancelo testing positive for Covid-19 and subsequently making his debut for the seniors.
His performances impressed national team head coach Fernando Santos, who has now called him up ahead of Nelson Semedo to be Cancelo’s understudy.
Speaking to the Portuguese press ahead of the forthcoming games against Qatar and Luxembourg, Dalot said he believes it is his ability to play in various positions that has helped his evolution.
‘I look at my versatility as an advantage,’ he said.
‘Not only for me, but I also believe that for the coaches it will be an advantage to have someone who can do two, three positions to give other options to the team.
‘I see it as an opportunity, as a challenge, as something positive for me, which can help me, especially being able to play on the opposite side to the one I’m used to, with the opposite foot, it’s a big challenge for me and I accept it every time I have it and try to give my best and that’s my goal.’
Dalot was also asked about his experience of playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo at United.
‘I think it’s visible to everyone that it is a privilege to share the dressing room with Cristiano, not only in the national team but also at the club,’ Dalot said.
‘I want to make the most of this opportunity I have to share both dressing rooms with him. It’s a privilege for me and a huge pride, too, to share the dressing room with the best.”
‘Sharing moments with him … is a reason to be proud, a responsibility to continue to improve every day so that one day we can share and experience what he has achieved so far.’
The 22-year-old also spoke of his determination to make the grade at United and become a first team regular:
‘The purpose of my adventure in Italy last year was precisely so that this year I would be more experienced, more mature, and I had the opportunity to play many games, which was the goal.
‘Knowing that it’s never easy to play in a team like United … I know I have the skills for that and to be able to compete every week, and that’s why I wanted to stay and accept the challenge of fighting for my space in Man United.’
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