Manchester United full-back Diogo Dalot cut no corners as he looked to put his injury issues behind him and send a message to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer while on loan at AC Milan
Diogo Dalot went to extreme lengths to resurrect his career after falling down the pecking order at Manchester United – including sleeping at AC Milan’s training ground.
The Portuguese full-back spent last season on loan with the Italian giants having made just seven starts under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during an injury-struck 2019/20 campaign.
Dalot, 22, targeted regular minutes with Milan in a bid to build rhythm and prove to the Old Trafford hierarchy he could put his many fitness setbacks behind him.
His hard work paid off as he made 33 appearances in all competitions for Stefano Pioli’s side and was ever-present in the matchday squad with no injury issues.
Goal have laid bare the hard work Dalot underwent to ensure he was always available for selection, claiming the player would often sleep at the club’s Milanello training ground to aid his recovery between games and training.
The report adds he would snub the chance to go on trips away from Milan on days off to reduce his chances of catching coronavirus, while he was in regular contact with Ole Gunanr Solskjaer throughout his season away.
Further, Dalot signed up for extra training sessions and worked closely with a nutritionist, helping him play over 2,000 minutes of football for the Rossoneri.
How did Dalot perform on loan?
While he did not start every game under Pioli, Dalot featured regularly either as a left-back or right-back, helping Milan finish as runners-up in Serie A to local rivals Inter.
The former Porto academy starlet chipped in with two goals and three assists, with Pioli declaring he will develop into a “complete player”.
Dalot’s form was enough to turn the heads of Portugal manager Fernando Santos, who selected him in his Euro 2020 squad after Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo caught Covid-19.
Milan were keen to extend his stay for another season but they were unable to agree on the structure of a deal with United, who were only interested in another loan if there was an obligation to buy in the summer of 2022.
Solskjaer may be pleased the deal never came to fruition, as he failed to sign Kieran Trippier from Atletico Madrid and Dalot now serves as the primary back-up for Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Indeed, the United boss said earlier this month Dalot “learned a lot” from his time at Milan and was confident enough in the Portuguese to send Brandon Williams out on loan to Norwich City.
How has Dalot performed this season?
Dalot’s only start of the season came in the 1-0 defeat by West Ham United in the Carabao Cup last week.
But he has also played an important role when called on by Solskjaer, coming off the bench twice in the first half when the Red Devils have needed him.
The first of these occasions came when Wan-Bissaka was sent of against Young Boys in the Champions League and the second when Luke Shaw suffered an injury against Aston Villa on Saturday.
Dalot’s ability to play in either full-back role continues to be one of his major strengths, and his versatility and hard work mean he can expect more minutes over the course of the season.