It all started so wonderfully…
Remember that time in late summer when Matteo Darmian looked like he’d worn the red shirt forever and was winning supporters over with his pace, determination and stamina? So much so that he was August’s player of the month?
Oddly, Darmian’s dip in form seems to have coincided exactly with Luke Shaw’s injury. United named an unchanged back four for the first eight matches of the season – culminating in the loss of Shaw at PSV.
Darmian was subbed against Southampton, rested against Ipswich Town, then had a 2-match spell at left back. Yanked off again at Arsenal, to that point he had played twelve of thirteen matches.
With injuries to Shaw and then Antonio Valencia, the Italian looked certain to be in the side – yet has only played in three of eight since the smash-up at the Emirates.
That’s right, the Italian international full-back has since lost his place to not one, but two wingers playing out of position. Darmian hasn’t seen any playing time for United since being subbed again, this time during the 0-0 at Crystal Palace.
Meanwhile, Italy manager Antonio Conte played him for two full matches during the recent international break. So it would seem that it is Louis Van Gaal that has lost confidence in the full-back.
One observer who still thinks Darmian will come good is the legendary former player and full-back, Denis Irwin. The Irishman recently telling The Mirror:
“But sometimes a break does you good, you see it’s a different culture, a different climate, a different pace of football, so I’m sure Darmian will be in there challenging for a position again.”
One thing is for certain – with eight fixtures remaining before the winter transfer window opens and with injuries mounting we need all the remaining players to be fit, firing and confident.
Let’s hope Darmian is in contention for player of the month again very soon.