Antonio Valencia Has Become Manchester United’s Mr Consistency

Posted: May 26, 2017 in European Football, Football, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
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Antonio Valencia is a survivor if nothing else. He arrived, largely unannounced and with very little fanfare, from Wigan back in 2009 and has seen the “arrival” of four managers and the departure of four managers during his time at Old Trafford! In fairness, the manager experience has happened entirely within the last four years.

Many thought that Valencia would be surplus to requirements as, following the temporary employment of Ryan Giggs, first David Moyes and then Louis van Gaal came through the door, presumably with their own ideas of what they wanted from the team. Their problem was a simple one. It did not appear as though the team was either sure or convinced about what they wanted and, consequently, neither of them kept the chair warm for very long.

One of the constants throughout these turbulent times was Antonio Valencia.

Signed as a winger, he has found himself converted to wing back for the last few seasons and has discovered that he is quite good at it.

A tireless runner who sometimes seems to lose track of which way he is going, he still has a bit to learn about the defensive side of the job, particularly positioning and moving out with the rest of the defence. Hopefully, during this transfer window, United will sign a couple of decent defenders as we are pretty sure that Valencia is not getting the required guidance from the likes of Smalling and Jones and, as he has signed a new two year contract, we expect him to be around for longer than the aforementioned duo.

He took a while to get back into the team and into the swing of things following his broken and dislocated ankle back in 2010. This kept him out for six months and he still, to this day, looks a trifle nervous about committing full bloodedly to a tackle. He also doesn’t try to beat players as often as he did prior to his injury so, maybe, the change of position is as a result of his time on the treatment table.

He also flirted, very briefly, with wearing the famous number seven shirt but gave it up almost as soon as he got it when he decided either that it was too heavy for him, or that he didn’t merit it. Whatever the reason, since reverting to the number 25 he has been back to being one of United’s most consistent performers.

On the whole the Manchester United defence has performed admirably this season and looks at it’s best when Eric Bailly is paired with Marcos Rojo in the centre. With Valencia on their right and a fit Luke Shaw on their left, all that is required are some quality additions to come in when injuries or suspensions hit.

Next season Manchester United will be expected to mount a far more serious title challenge and the likes of Valencia, Mata, Rashford, Bailly and Herrera will be integral to that challenge along with the previously mentioned additions.

José Mourinho has just about got it right in his first season. He has won a trophy that the club had never won before and gained automatic entry into the Champion’s League and has finished the season with three cups, a feat unmatched by any manager in the history of United. He has, however, won the “B” competitions, leaving himself as a hero who only needs to do well in the “A” competitions to be considered a resounding success.

Doing well in the top competitions will very much depend upon the successful recruitment of players this Summer but he will, no doubt, be glad to have a consistent player like Antonio Valencia alongside him when the first match kicks off in August.


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