Due to the fact that the defense has not yet taken the field in Qatar, Erik ten Hag is facing two different kinds of repercussions right now.
Diogo Dalot, who also plays for Manchester United, has not been given a single minute of playing time for Portugal in Qatar despite the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes have garnered a lot of attention for their country.
Ronaldo praised the 23-year-old for having the right attitude in his development during the contentious interview that he gave, but the manager of the national team, Fernando Santos, has not shown the same faith in him thus far in the competition. Ronaldo praised the player for having the right attitude in his development.
Although Joao Cancelo typically plays on the left side of Manchester City's defense, Nuno Mendes has been given the opportunity to play on the right side of the back line. And when Mendes was substituted during Brazil's 2-0 win over Uruguay on Monday, Raphael Guerreiro came on as the team's right back because Santos refused to switch Cancelo to left back and replace him with Dalot in the right back position.
In spite of this, the United defenseman could make his World Cup debut on Friday when they take on South Korea. This is because Portugal has already qualified for the knockout stage. Nevertheless, despite the fact that Dalot scored twice in Portugal's 4-0 Nations League victory over the Czech Republic in September, it appears that Dalot is not a member of the Portugal XI that is used in most matches.
The manager of United, Erik ten Hag, will likely view this as both encouraging and concerning information. Because of the unfortunate fact that he was sent off against Fulham in United's final game before the World Cup, Dalot will not have played for three weeks by the time Portugal plays South Korea. This will be a disadvantage for Portugal.
And even if he does get game time, it is unlikely that Dalot will be handed more minutes in the knockout stage given that he did not get a look in during any of the significant matches that occurred during the group stage. Ten Hag will be concerned about his in-game fitness levels if his current streak of not allowing any goals continues, given that those back at Carrington are scheduled to play two friendlies during the break.
Given that Dalot is the only preferred natural right-back at the club at the moment, his manager will want him to be in peak physical condition in advance of the hectic holiday season that will follow the conclusion of the World Cup. But the fact that he is United's only right back is also why Ten Hag may be secretly pleased with his situation; after all, it is preferable to have a rusty right back than none at all.
Left-back Tyrell Malacia, who did not start any of the Netherlands' group games, was asked to play on the opposite flank against Fulham because Aaron Wan-Bissaka was so thoroughly unfavored that he was left out of the matchday squad again. Fulham was the team that was playing against the Netherlands. It brought to light the precarious nature of United's right-back depth, and it may have reaffirmed the importance of United signing a new right-back in January.
But until that occurs, United needs Dalot to be available and in good shape. Because he is sitting on the bench for Portugal in Qatar, Dalot's risk of injury is significantly reduced, although it is never completely eliminated; an example of this is Karim Benzema, who suffered an injury while training for France.
But Ten Hag can take some solace in the fact that Dalot is further down the pecking order with Portugal, knowing that he will most likely not have a right-back crisis when the season starts back up again.
You have the opportunity to cast your vote for Diogo Dalot in our United Fans' Footballer of the Year 2022 award; you can do so either below or here:
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