Saturday will go down as a dark day in the modern history of Manchester United but as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-team were being beaten by Man City there was at least one performance to be proud of.
15 miles way from Old Trafford, teenage hopeful Amad marked his return from injury with a starring role as the Reds rallied late on to defeat fierce rivals Leeds at Leigh Sports Village, a derby display worthy of the United name.
In an alternative universe Amad would be in the Netherlands right now gearing up for an Eredivise outing this weekend had his proposed loan move to Feyenoord not been cancelled at the last minute due to a training ground thigh injury, instead he is reflecting on a stellar outing at U23 level.
The 19-year-old signed from Atalanta for a fee rising to £37million last year but his start to life in Manchester has been far from a fairy tale befitting his extraordinary move to United.
Prior to his transfer the teenager had only played 76 minutes of first-team football in his senior career, he’s only added another 263 minutes to that at club level in the 11 months he has spent in English football.
Amad has only started twice for United since he joined the club in January and missed the entirety of pre-season as he elected to represent the Ivory Coast at the Olympics in Tokyo, the plan was to propel his career with a summer loan exit, though that remains on hold until January after his injury setback.
In an ideal world the Ivorian youngster will leave the club on a temporary deal in the New Year once he is up to speed, based on his impressive return against Leeds on Saturday it won’t take long before he is ready.
It would only take six minutes for Amad to open the scoring when he latched onto a defence-splitting pass from Martin Svidersky before calming slotting beyond the Leeds ‘keeper.
Sean McGurk would draw the visitors level before any burst of brilliance saw United regain their lead, this time a change of pace in midfield saw him break away on goal before teeing up Charlie McNeill to regain the lead.
Amad Diallo of Manchester United. With twenty minutes left Leeds looked to have snatched a draw when Nohan Kenneh levelled once again but Amad had a point to prove and the best was yet to come.
As the match entered the final three minutes of normal time Amad chested the ball down on the edge of the box, before flicking the ball over a defender’s head, cutting back outside to beat him and then racing through on goal to drill a low winner into the far corner of the net.
It was a moment of genius improvisation and a glimpse of just why United committed £37million to a teenager who had just over an hour of senior experience upon his arrival.
Amad will once again be on the transfer wish list of many clubs when the window reopens in less than two months’ time and while the provisional plan is still for him to leave with derby day displays like the one against Leeds he might well prove who he actually deserves to stay instead.