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The Manchester United Player Who Is Going Under The Radar For Erik Ten Hag In Pre-Season

Cain Smith

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The Manchester United Player Who Is Going Under The Radar For Erik Ten Hag In Pre-Season

Erik ten Hag's first Manchester United pre-season has seen a number of players stand out in the opening two fixtures, one of those has been Diogo Dalot.

The right-back has not received a lot of attention for his performances, but they've been rather impressive alongside Jadon Sancho on the right-wing.

After years of having the Old Trafford pitch dominated by left-sided players, Ten Hag wants his team to be able to attack from all angles.

"We have a good left side, but I think you saw against Liverpool that we also had a threat on the right side." He told media last week after United's opening 4-0 win.

"It was really good to see it because you want to have weapons. When it is only on one side it is predictable, so we want that to develop over two sides, also from the middle. We have to come from everywhere."

Jadon Sancho is a large reason for that balance seen in the games so far. The wide man was one of the best players on the pitch against Liverpool and Melbourne Victory.

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However, he has been complimented by Dalot, whose performances are suggesting that he could be a great help to the winger on the right side.

Being a willing runner, the Portuguese has aided Sancho many times with both under and overlapping runs beyond the opposition backline.

It was best seen in the build-up for Anthony Martial's goal at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where Dalot's sprint in behind was found expertly by the English international.

His cutback cross found Anthony Elanga, and after his failed attempt landed with Martial, he slotted home confidently.

Since Ralf Rangnick brought Dalot back into the fold last season, the right-back has brought some interesting assets to the table.

While he's ironically been inconsistent with his crossing, which was an area of his which was lauded as a teenager, Dalot has been one of United's best progressors of the ball.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Beforehand, United's left-side bias would sometimes step from Aaron Wan-Bissaka's inability to progress well on the right. With the 23-year-old in place of the former Crystal Palace defender, United could see more balance.

It was also apparent that Dalot's intense defending could be useful against Wan-Bissaka's reactive style. While it was seen that the defender could still be exploited at times, as shown against Villarreal in the Champions League, his improvement at the defensive side of his game has still been clear.

Sancho is the most important player in this equation, however. He thrives when he can link up with the players around him well, and that includes having a full-back who understands his needs to have movement on the flank while he drifts inside.

It was clear at Borussia Dortmund when he had Achraf Hakimi as his full-back in 2019/20, the pair were perfect together on the right.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Then after the Moroccan moved to PSG, it was no surprise to see Sancho move across to the left for the most part of the following season, as he continued to have a solid relationship with left-back Raphaël Guerreiro until his United move.

"I think the whole right side played really well because there's a good connection between Jadon Sancho and Diogo Dalot and also mixed in with Bruno, Martial and also McTominay." Ten Hag explained after United's win in Melbourne.

It's clear that the partnership between Dalot and Sancho is starting to blossom, and if the right-back can offer anything close to what Sancho received from his full-backs in Germany, then he will be able to thrive.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Manchester United, Diogo Dalot, Aaron Wan Bissaka, Jadon Sancho, Erik Ten Hag, Football, Liverpool, Premier League

Cain Smith
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