Basic competence is a good starting point, but not all you’d want at the peak of your powers. Alas, the only praise we can give Matteo Darmian two seasons after his arrival at Old Trafford is of the faint and damning kind, with the Italian international having been very solid but just as unspectacular. He’s been unable to recover the kind of form he showed before being snapped up by Louis van Gaal a couple of years ago, and faces an uncertain future as a result.
To be sure, Darmian certainly hasn’t been bad this season. The Lombard native has made 18 Premier League appearances, three of which have come from the bench. Six further starts have come in the Europa League, including in both legs of the semifinal win over Celta Vigo. His versatility has come in handy with Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling and Antonio Valencia all prone to injury problems, and Mourinho is unlikely to try and force him out over the summer. He’s the kind of player that’s very useful to have hanging around.
But at 27, there are question marks over whether Darmian will be happy with his current rotation role. It’s looking increasingly unlikely that he’ll ever establish himself as a first-choice full-back at Old Trafford, and he may need a move to secure his place in the Italian national team. Links with a return to Italy have started appearing in the press, and it would come as no great surprise to see him return to the motherland in the coming months.
José Mourinho approval rating: Folded arms and a snood over the mouth. Unreadable.