Starting right back Antonio Valencia was handed the Manchester United captaincy for this season, but with his having suffered a calf injury that kept him out of Wednesday night’s preseason 1-1 draw with AC Milan (United won eventually 9-8 on penalty kicks), the duties had to be fulfilled by someone else in the friendly.
Manager Jose Mourinho handed the captain’s armband to the man who temporarily replaced Valencia at the position, Matteo Darmian.
This seemed especially noteworthy at the time because it was a clear signal that the Italian was going to stay put this summer transfer window.
Perhaps it was a way to try and convince Darmian to stay, a gesture to try and keep him happy at Old Trafford, because the defender still wants out. Even if the players ahead of him on the depth chart are injured to start the Premier League season, and he’s then thrust into the first team by default, the 28-year-old still wants out.
“I don’t think the injury of Antonio is a big injury. I don’t know how long he needs to stay out, but at the moment he is the captain, he’s first choice,” Darmian candidly said.
“I want to play more regularly. Last season, I didn’t play much — that’s my objective and my ambition. That’s why I spoke with the manager and also with the club about my future. I want to leave but we will see what happens because we don’t know,” he added.
Entering this summer, Darmian was right up there with Daley Blind among the players most likely to be heading out the Old Trafford exit door. While Blind left and made a return to Ajax, Darmian still has an uncertain future with the club.
He came to United in the summer transfer window of 2015, and he’s been linked with a move back to a couple clubs in Serie A this summer.
“It’s an option. Yes, probably,” Darmian responded when asked if a move back to his home country is in the cards.
“We will see what happens. Honestly, I’m waiting. If I stay, I stay and I do what I did up until now. If I go, it is because the offer that another team makes will be good.
“To play for probably the best club in the world is a good thing, and for me, it’s an honor to play here and play for Manchester United. But we have to take decisions in our life and this is my decision.”
He also that getting to wear the captain’s arm band was an honor that made him happy, and the opportunity probably arose because he United were playing one of his former teams.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, is currently a regular contributor to SB Nation, WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.
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