Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho eager to keep Matteo Darmian

Thursday's 0-0 home friendly draw with Northern Ireland, as they were outplayed by Michael O'Neill's side, only served to increase concerns over the direction of the Republic squad since last November's World Cup play-off hammering by the Danes.

And while he didn't watch the match in full, it appears Mourinho saw enough from Alderweireld to reinforce his belief the Ajax academy graduate is the man he needs at United.

Mourinho gave Sanchez promise Mourinho gave Sanchez a guarantee that he would be United's talisman upon signing the player from Arsenal in January.

Manchester United and Liverpool, though, will not let the chance to snap up Ramsey on a free pass them by without a fight.

Like many Manchester United fans, when I heard that Andreas Pereira would not be going on loan this season - or worse, leaving the club - I was ecstatic.

Defensively they may still be suspect, but Mourinho has at least settled on a back-four that has an understanding, while in midfield he is likely to go with the trio of Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera on Sunday.

O'Neill said: "If he has committed himself to us now - as he has done - then we'll think about playing him in the game".

Maradona says he could learn a lot from Mourinho
Maradona says he could learn a lot from Mourinho

"You can't write us off easily". We're a few games into the season, we're not even in middle of November and we're even struggling to get a Champions League spot.

That was construed by paranoid Hammers as further proof their new hero is growing fed up of the situation.

O'Neill said it is "lunacy" for him to prioritise this over winning, and described it as "entrapment" as his team come to the end of their UEFA Nations League campaign with a clash against Denmark. "You've got to want to play for your country and earn it".

But the Irish boss has again defended his stance over not capping Declan Rice in the World Cup qualifiers past year and said it would be "lunacy" to have his team selection dictated by a need to get dual-eligibility players tied down.

"United players need to have the personality to cope with that".

Valencia has missed the last seven games while Dalot, a summer signing from Porto, hasn't featured since the Carabao Cup defeat to Derby in September.

  • Angelo Rivera