Three Man United legends who can inspire Matteo Darmian
Man United target Matteo Darmian will be following in the footsteps of some legendary full-backs at Old Trafford
Gary Neville was Manchester United right-back for 20 years before his retirement in 2011. During those two decades, he made 400 appearances, winning eight Premier League titles, one Champions League, three FA Cups and two League Cups. He epitomised the United side under Sir Alex Ferguson and was renowned for his will to win and leadership qualities. His loyalty, combined with a fierce passion for the club made him a crowd favourite and he will always be considered a legend at Old Trafford. Matteo Darmian is admittedly more talented than Neville and certainly more effective going forward, but if he wants to know how to become a Red Devils cult-hero, he should look no further than the former England international.
Darmian can draw inspiration from the success of Patrice Evra as he may be an unknown quantity to many United fans, just as the Frenchman was when he signed from Monaco back in 2006. Darmian, like Evra at the time, is a young European player joining from his own domestic league and signing for United could be a daunting experience. Evra struggled in his first few months at the club and was even substituted at half-time during his debut against Manchester City. However, he later established himself as an excellent left-back and enjoyed success in the same defence that boasted both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. He finished his spell at United with five league titles and one Champions League and Darmian would do well to repeat the Frenchman’s achievements.
Darmian is similar to Denis Irwin in that he is equally comfortable in both full-back positions. Irwin was often used at right-back before the emergence of Neville but he was first-choice under Ferguson at left-back well into his thirties, despite competition from the likes of Phil Neville. Darmian could find himself at left-back in several matches next season when you consider Luke Shaw’s fitness concerns and he would do well to perform as consistently as the former Republic of Ireland international.