Erik ten Hag has a problem in the Manchester United dressing room that could hamper one of his most important players, according to reports. United are regularly criticised for having a lack of leaders in the dressing room despite Ten Hag’s attempts to recruit the right characters, and there is proof to back up those concerns.
The Red Devils’ post-match public interviews and press conferences have been downbeat more often than the club would’ve liked this season.
Ten Hag has a group of players consistently putting themselves forward for media duties, a particularly taxing task after a poor result.
Captain Bruno Fernandes, Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire are among those who regularly speak to the TV cameras before and after games. Diogo Dalot is another.
The 24-year-old has been one of the most important players of Ten Hag’s reign and an almost ever-present at full-back this season.
He’s featured in 18 of 21 Premier League games, five of six Champions League group-stage fixtures, both Carabao Cup matches and the FA Cup third-round clash at Wigan Athletic.
Naturally, Dalot has been a common option for post-match media duties, which is said to have sparked internal concerns.
According to the Manchester Evening News, United staff are aware they have become dependent on Dalot to step up due to a lack of willing public speakers in Ten Hag’s squad.
And there are subsequent worries that he is becoming overtaxed by the role, which could have a negative impact on his performances on the pitch.
Dalot’s confidence has helped him edge ahead of Aaron Wan-Bissaka – known to be more reserved and shy – in the right-back pecking order.
The Portugal international has struck up a strong relationship with supporters and always sprints towards the Stretford End to a roar after pre-match handshakes at Old Trafford.
Near the end of last year, he admitted that Ten Hag has hugely helped his career by giving him more confidence on and off the pitch.
Dalot said: “He’s been having a really good impact on my career, especially since he came in. He gives me a lot of confidence.
“The way that he wants to play suits the way that I want to play football, as well, and it’s been a pleasure to work with him, he is a very demanding manager.
“He pays attention to the details, and I like that. It’s been a joy to play and be coached by him.”