Manchester United could hand Amad Diallo a full debut in Sunday’s Premier League clash against West Ham.
But even though it would be primarily as a result of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani being ruled out, it would still be thoroughly deserved.
Cavani definitely won’t return from a recent injury in time to face the Hammers at Old Trafford, while Rashford and Martial are both big doubts. The former suffered an ankle injury in the Manchester derby last weekend, while the latter took a knock against AC Milan in midweek.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was adamant that Amad would be given time and patience to adapt and settle into his new surroundings, but ultimately the player has forced the boss’ hand sooner.
In a way, the timing is good for Solskjaer. It is obviously a massive blow to be without his three most senior forwards, but it means he can give a first start to Amad without second guessing himself over potentially having to leave out one of Rashford, Martial or Cavani to do it.
This has come almost as a ‘free pass’ for Amad and Solskjaer as there is nothing to lose. United aren’t making any sort of concession with another player to get him in the team and there is no pressure in that sense, meaning he is free to express himself and enjoy it.
It was Amad who replaced Martial at half-time that got a goal for United, in that contest against the Rossoneri and he looked sharp, marking the occasion with an intelligent goal to give United the lead. Connecting with a Bruno Fernandes through ball, he was aware enough to lift a deft header over the onrushing goalkeeper.
The teenager has now appeared from the bench in three consecutive Europa League games, each time getting more minutes on the pitch following his debut against Real Sociedad last month.
He is yet to feature in a domestic game but has been part of the matchday squad for United’s last four Premier League fixtures, as well as for the FA Cup fifth round against Sunday’s opponents.
All of that exposure, as well as two extremely impressive performances at Under-23 level when he first arrived from Atalanta during the January transfer window have built up to this moment.