Louis van Gaal has surprised and even angered some Manchester United fans after saying Matteo Darmian has been signed as a back-up option for Antonio Valencia.
Speaking ahead of this evening’s International Champions Cup match against San Jose Earthquakes, Van Gaal told reporters that the Italy international has been signed for the “second position” behind Valencia.
This is according to Rob Dawson from the Manchester Evening News, who was right to predict that Van Gaal’s comments would not go down well with the Red Devils’ faithful.
A video of Van Gaal’s 15-minute press conference confirms the veteran Dutch coach did indeed say that Darmian is currently behind Valencia in the Old Trafford pecking order. (Skip to 8 mins 45 secs.)
He told journalists: “We have brought Darmian for the second position behind Valencia and now already because of the injury [Paddy] McNair has to play there.”
United fans not convinced by Valencia
Valencia established himself as Manchester United’s first-choice right-back last season, ahead of Rafael, but has never convinced the club’s fans in that position.
The Ecuador international, who was signed as a potential replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009, is strong and quick but defensively suspect. The 29-year-old is also painfully one-footed and this can hinder him.
Darmian impressed on first United appearance
By contrast, Darmian is comfortable using both his right and left feet, and impressed fans on his first appearances for the Red Devils against Club America last Friday.
The 25-year-old. who United signed for £14.4 million from Torino earlier this month, looked assured at both ends of the pitch and performed his defensive responsibilities to good effect.
United fans were thrilled to see Van Gaal had addressed the team’s right-back situation after missing out on Dani Alves and Nathaniel Clyne. The same supporters may have known little about the Italian prior to his move to Old Trafford this month, but subsequent research suggested Van Gaal had made a very shrewd signing indeed.
United fans angry
However, they are not impressed by Van Gaal’s latest comments and have taken to Twitter to voice their frustration.
Here are some of the best tweets.
Of course, Van Gaal may have been trying to keep the peace with Valencia, who clearly impressed the Dutchman with his willingness last season.
His comments also send out a clear message to Darmian: in order to become Manchester United’s first-choice right-back, you must earn the right first through performances on the pitch.
Manchester United fans: how do you feel about Louis van Gaal’s latest comments? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!