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Manager explains why Man United ace was subbed off at half-time in pre-Euro friendly

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We are at that stage of the calender, with Euro 2024 kicking off in 48 hours time, where footballers the continent over are wrapping themselves in cotton wool.

An inocuous knock, a freak accident, a muscle twinge, and your tournament hopes could disappear like a click of Thanos’ fingers.

Just ask Michel Sadilek, the Czech Republic midfielder who will now have to watch on from home after falling off his bike. Poland took no chances with Karol Swidiersky either, subbing the forward straight after just 12 minutes against Turkey after he appeared to damage himself in the resulting celebration.

And as one of Manchester United‘s Germany-bound eight failed to reappear for the second-half on Tuesday night, those stuck in the stands and left to speculate without access to Google’s font of knowledge may have been fearing the worst.

Diogo Dalot of Portugal with Liam Scales of Republic of Ireland in action during the International Friendly match between Portugal and Republic of ...

Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

Portugal boss calms Diogo Dalot fears before Euro 2024

Fortunately, Portugal boss Roberto Martinez would confirm after Portugal’s 3-0 thrashing of the Republic of Ireland that Diogo Dalot‘s removal was not due to an injury, but instead a pre-planned move from a coach looking to keep his fearsomely-well-balanced squad fresh.

“The plan outlined was (that) Pepe, Diogo Dalot, Joao Cancelo, Rafael Leao and Joao Felix left at half-time,” Martinez tells O Jogo, Wolves flyer Nelson Semedo stepping in for the £19 million Man United man following the interval.

Dalot has featured in each of Portugal’s last four internationals, and in all three of June’s pre-tournament friendlies. Man United’s Player’s Player of the Year looks well placed to start, then, when one the Euro 2016 winners begin their campaign against the Czech Republic on Tuesday night.

While Dalot only played 45 minutes against an Ireland side under the interim control of Red Devils hero John O’Shea, Man United stars past and present once again made the difference. There was yet another assist for the irrepressible Bruno Fernandes, setting up Joao Felix’s opener.

Cristiano Ronaldo then rolled back the years with a pair of typically emphatic strikes, including one cut-inside-and-whack that would not have looked out place during his glorious first spell at Old Trafford under Sir Alex Ferguson.

  • READ: Manchester United stars at Euro 2024, fixtures, kick-off times

Big Manchester United connection in Portugal squad

Dalot will be hoping for a few headline-making moments of his own this summer. The former FC Porto whizzkid certainly heads to Germany in good form.

“For me, Diogo Dalot is a player with great consistency,” legendary Man United full-back Patrice Evra tells O Jogo. “What I like most when I watch him play is the energy he puts on the field. He always wants to get up the pitch and never gives up.

“And that’s why, in my opinion, he has been Manchester United’s most consistent player this season.

“Even in games where the team didn’t do so well, he always demonstrated his quality,” Evra adds. “He has incredible physical power and is not afraid to face (up against attackers) one-v-one or even in two-v-one situations. He always accepts the challenge.

“For me, these are the fundamental characteristics that a full-back should have. Furthermore, Diogo is a very good person and a humble boy.”

Interestingly, The Athletic reported today – after the confrmation that Erik ten Hag would stay on as manager – that Man United had included Roberto Martinez on their initial managerial longlist.

  • READ MORE: Manchester United manager history, trophies won, win percentage

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