Ashley Young Is Rolling Back The Years At Manchester United

Manchester United have a good recent history in moving wingers to the wing-back role and seeing them blossom in those new defensive duties.

Antonio Valencia did it with ease and he’s still the club’s standout right-back. Before that, Quinton Fortune managed to do it during his stint at Old Trafford and Lee Sharpe was often used as a left-back whenever Denis Irwin was missing during the early nineties.

Current United manager Jose Mourinho has decided that Ashley Young is now better off in the left full-back slot instead of his customary position on the wing.

The Englishman has taken to his task with relish and has impressed in that role. You get the feeling Young is just eager to play and will try his upmost to please Jose.

Being thirty-two years of age, Ashley probably isn’t as explosive as he once was but what he does offer is vast experience. He’s now a veteran of this Red Devils squad and he along with Michael Carrick and Valencia they are key members of the pool that can say they were there during the Sir Alex Ferguson glory years. They have the the winners medals to prove it.

Young has proven himself disciplined in the role and that will please his current United boss. He can get forward. as any modern day fullback needs to, and he has managed three goals in his last two Premier League outings. Those goals have been vital in Man Utd’s pursuit of rivals Manchester City in the title race, his brace against former side Watford helped the side to a 4-2 away win at Vicarage Road and his strike at the weekend secured a 1-0 victory over Brighton.

It should be noted that he’s also picked up two league assists so far this term.

After last night’s won over the Hornets, Mourinho stated:

“At his age, Young’s playing better than ever and I couldn’t be more happy with him.”

The wily veteran is now ahead of younger stars; Marcos Rojo, Matteo Darmian, Daley Blind and Luke Shaw in the left-back pecking order.

He seems to give the team more balance and extra stability. In truth, I also think Mourinho trusts him more than his counterparts.

Young has even impressed with his defensive duties.

He gets back quickly, is disciplined at sticking to his task and he’s also winning the ball back for his team, The thirty two year old is using all his experience as a winger to his advantage, he knows the way a winger’s mind works and that is key. He’ll often stand off pacy speed merchants and he will show others onto their weaker foot, knowing that’s the last place they want to be. Essentially he’s beating certain wingers with his past experience and his smart thinking. No United player is averaging better than Young for interceptions and his 1.6 tackles per game stat is pretty healthy too.

Another attribute that Jose will love about his ageing foot-soldier is Ashely’s willingness to play anywhere for the team. He has filled in at right-back and on the left wing this season and if needed he can play on the right wing or even as a central midfielder.

The player is also pretty handy taking set-pieces, as he proved last night. He possesses good vision and uncanny accuracy.

Ashley Young has often been written off during his spell at Old Trafford but he’s a hard worker and a team player. Jose Mourinho is clearly impressed and United have always been successful with versatile unsung heroes in their squads.

Jose has given the veteran a new lease of life in this new defensive position and Young seems to have grasped the opportunity with both hands. His form has been rewarded with a recall to the England set-up and hopefully he can stay clear of injury problems and continue to use his experience to great effect!

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