Manchester United prospect Diogo Dalot proved he was a missed opportunity for Everton with an inspired performance for Portugal’s Under 21s as Rui Jorge’s side beat Norway 4-1.
Portugal’s young chargers hosted the best up-and-coming talents Norway had to offer at the Estadio Antonio Coimbra da Mota on Friday night as they continued their qualifying efforts for the UEFA European U21 Championship.
A hat-trick from Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Pedro Neto and a second-half strike from the Molineux outfit’s FC Porto loanee Vitinha ensured Portugal kept within six points of the Netherlands at the top of Group 7 ahead of facing Gibraltar on Tuesday.
Everton were linked with a potential move to sign Dalot from Manchester United this summer, with the Mirror suggesting in August that Carlo Ancelotti had considered the youngster as a potential long-term option to bolster his defence.
The full-back has fallen out of favour at Old Trafford under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the arrival of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, leading Ancelotti to believe that the 21-year-old could be signed for around £10million – almost half the £19m Manchester United paid to sign him during Jose Mourinho’s tenure.
Dalot ultimately secured a one-season loan deal with Italian giants AC Milan, who are reportedly already considering approaching United over a permanent transfer having failed to agree on an option to buy clause.
The Braga-born full-back is yet to make his debut outing for the Rossoneri, with his sole domestic minutes of the campaign coming in a 90-minute run-out for United against Brighton & Hove Albion in the Carabao Cup.
Dalot opened the Norway affair on Friday night for his sixth U21 international appearance and first in two years, and enjoyed 83 minutes on the field before being replaced late on by Pedro Pereira.
In those minutes, Dalot stood out behind Wolves’ goal-scoring duo on the right-hand channel as he registered the next-highest match rating to Neto and Vitinha from SofaScore at 7.5.
The Porto product earned his score thanks to completing 40 of his 48 attempted passes, which led to two key balls, creating one big chance, delivering two accurate crosses and playing six long passes.
He also struck one shot on goal but saw that effort blocked, while denying Norway with three clearances, one block, three interceptions, one tackle, one ground duel won and one aerial contest won.
Everton Director of Football Marcel Brands may have been left disappointed to see Dalot thrive on Friday, having opted, alongside Ancelotti, not to sign the young full-back in the summer and therefore, not land the Blues’ boss his potential long-term Seamus Coleman successor.