As Manchester United push for the title race, chasing their cross city rivals, Manchester City, they required a hero to get them wins in matches against Brighton and Watford. And who would have thought that that hero would be none other than Ashley Young.
The English winger, since coming to Man Utd in 2011, has had rough patches in his career and never really filled the shoes he was expected to. But under the new manager, Jose Mourinho, and with a new role of Left Wing Back, Ashley Young looks like a new player and has finally started to show why he was bought by Sir Alex Ferguson in the first place.
At the age of 32, he is one of the very few experienced players, who have won the Premier League in the current Man Utd squad. Thus, this makes him a vital player for Jose Mourinho. He is slowly becoming a leader, along with donning the captain’s armband in absence of Antonio Valencia, there is surely no doubt why Jose trusts this man so much.
Here’s what he said on captaining Man Utd :
I feel really good. Obviously getting the armband – it’s is a proud moment to captain Man United. It is an honour for me to get the armband. It shows the manager has got trust in me and I’ve got to repay him and I think I’ve been doing that in the games I’ve played.
In the recent weeks, Young has been on fire. Against Brighton, he scored United’s only goal (which was later awarded as own goal) and saved them from an embarrassing draw at home and kept their titles hopes alive. Then again in midweek game against Watford, which was thought to be a tough test for United, he slotted home a lovely half-volley from outside the box from Jesse Lingard’s pass in the first 15 minutes, to be followed by an absolute beauty of a freekick only a few minutes later. His recent performances have seen him being rewarded as Man Utd’s Player of the Month for November. He has also been shortlisted for PFA Player of the Month award for November.
The new role of Left Wing Back looks to suit him really well. With his experience he knows when to track back and when to press forward. His tackling is only getting better, and with his excellent crossing prowess and Man Utd’s really tall players waiting in the box, makes the team a very dangerous areal threat specially during set-pieces and counter attacks.
Here’s what Mourinho said about Ashley Young’s brilliant form :
It’s his desire, his mentality, his motivation. Last season he played a bit but he was frustrated because he felt he could do more for the team.
But I learned what Ashley is in my second season with him – the positions he can play, the systems he can play and what he can give to the team. And no injuries, which he had a few of in the past. So he’s fit and working during the week to play matches. And probably at this moment of his career, this position is better than the pure winger he was, so I think he’s found great stability.
Young’s outstanding form of late, which has heralded praise from Jose Mourinho, has nailed down a regular starting place in the team at both left-back and in a wing-back role. His sequence of impressive displays also caught the eye of Gareth Southgate, leading to a recall to the England squad and a first cap for his country since 2013 against Brazil last month.
Once thought to be on the brink to be sold by the new manager, Young forced his stay which has only rewarded him. Not only that, but now he is also demanding a contract extension and deservedly so. His current deal expires at the end of the season.
United are unlikely to discuss an extension until the New Year, but the 32-year-old is desperate to stay and feels the club are on the brink of something special under Jose Mourinho.
“It is exciting times here,” said Young. “And I want to be part of the success. As a footballer you want to win trophies and be part of a successful team. And for me Manchester United is that club.
The most successful club in England and hopefully we can add to the trophies we won last season and hopefully win some more. I’ve managed to get myself fit, got myself back in the team and hopefully I can stay there.”
It’s only a matter of time before he is awarded with a contract extension. Man Utd fans will be hoping that he continues his excellent form, and certainly so with the upcoming Manchester Derby at the Old Trafford which could be a potential title decider.
Stay tuned for more .