As broadly anticipated, Manchester Metropolis ended up signing centre-backs in the course of the previous switch interval. Nathan Ake was an addition to assist with defensive depth; lengthy after his arrival, most individuals nonetheless anticipated extra so as to mitigate Pep Guardiola’s well-documented defensive complications. But in got here 23-year-old Ruben Dias. Can the 68 million euro signing from Benfica efficiently galvanise Manchester Metropolis’s again 4?
Guardiola wasted no time in giving the Portuguese worldwide his Premier League debut; simply half every week after formally becoming a member of the membership, Dias performed the total 90 minutes within the 1-1 away draw at Leeds United. He additionally performed the total 90 on Saturday as Man Metropolis labored their approach to a snug 1-0 win at dwelling to Arsenal.
Even with barely a dozen hours on the coaching floor together with his new teammates underneath his belt, he slotted in fairly comfortably to the proper of Aymeric Laporte. Since then he has additionally loved three outings for his nation, all with out conceding a purpose: He was a half-time substitute within the 0-0 pleasant draw in opposition to Spain, then began the Nations League video games vs. France (0-0) and Sweden (a 3-0 win).
Regardless of being solely 23 and a centre-back — it normally takes longer to assimilate at what is mostly thought of to be probably the most troublesome place in soccer to grasp — Ruben Dias has already had an eventful younger profession in Portugal. After standing out at youth stage and captaining his nation for each the U-17 and U-19s, he has already established himself as a daily for the senior aspect. He was a member of the 2018 World Cup squad, and though he did not play a single minute in Russia, he began the UEFA Nations Cup last a yr later and performed an excellent match as Portugal beat the Netherlands 1-0 to assert the inaugural trophy.
Since then he has amassed a complete of twenty-two senior caps for his nation. The truth that Ruben Dias additionally clocked near 100 league matches for Benfica — roughly double what Victor Lindelof managed for a similar membership earlier than he set off for Outdated Trafford — previous to shifting to the Premier League signifies that he does have an unusually excessive stage of expertise for a centre-back of his age, and this reveals in the way in which he presents himself on the pitch.
The brand new Manchester Metropolis recruit’s most placing characteristic is his composure; he by no means appears in a rush. When in possession he is calm and measured on the ball, typically taking time to search for and assess his passing choices behind the traces in entrance of him. It is uncommon that he goes for the straightforward possibility of sliding the ball out to the full-back or his central defensive associate. He additionally has a wonderful contact on the ball, each on the subject of controlling it (even underneath strain) and when hitting a well-weighted go, typically on the most handy spot for a teammate to obtain it.
Defensively, he is equally calm with out the ball. In a single-on-one conditions he reads the opponents and tends to remain on his ft, preferring to attend out the state of affairs through the use of his physique to brush off the opposing participant or nicking the ball with a well-timed interception quite than throwing himself right into a dangerous deal with.
As already seen in his Metropolis debut at Elland Highway and Saturday’s 1-0 win over Arsenal, the occasional captain for former membership Benfica additionally performs with the authority and assertiveness of somebody nicely past his years. Though some would declare the empty seats on the historically hostile floor would’ve performed to his benefit — I’ve doubts that it might have made any distinction to him — he did not look notably fazed by being launched to a league that is much more intense when it comes to tempo and duels than the Portuguese Primeira Liga. One other essential characteristic price mentioning is the spectacular focus he tends to hold with him all by means of the sport.
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For those who add the scale and presence to dominate within the air at defensive and attacking set-pieces, plus a comparatively (a minimum of for a central defender) agile physique — he seems moderately fast as soon as he hits high velocity — Ruben Dias makes up a reasonably full centre-back, and there is each cause to consider he’ll preserve growing. Solely time will inform whether or not the brand new signing is the long-term defensive rock to persistently associate Aymeric Laporte (clearly supplied the Frenchman stays match, too) within the coronary heart of the Man Metropolis defence, however the early indicators are promising and the pair look a very good match.