The rebirth of Antonio Valencia at Manchester United

Manchester United squad line-up for a game. Picture credit: Manchester United official twitter handle.Manchester United squad line-up for a game. Picture credit: Manchester United official twitter handle.

Antonio Valencia maybe the first name on every first XI Jose Mourinho picks for Manchester United in the 2016/17 season because we are witnessing a mind-blowing rebirth of the Ecuadorian.

Since he joined the Red Devils from Wigan on the 30 of June 2009, this is going to be the most challenging season for the very strong and mobile midfielder cum wing-back.

A new position he carried out so well under former manager Louis van Gaal without fuse – a classic example of a true professional who thinks more about the team than personal glory.

Valencia is a natural winger built in the old model, very direct and fearless, sometimes too direct that he scares the crap out of defenders during his time under the great Sir Alex Ferguson who is now retired.

Manchester United fans during games get-up on their feet in anticipation of a goal whenever Valencia runs down the by-line because he always delivers great crosses for the strikers to finish and the likes of Wayne Rooney has benefitted from this special services in the past.

Last season, Valencia was plagued by injuries which only reduced him to some handful of games for the current FA Cup kings and coupled with the fact that Old Trafford was tension soaked – performances dropped generally including that of the former Wigan star.

However, with the arrival of former Real Madrid, Inter Milan, and Chelsea Gaffer Jose Mourinho, things are surely looking up for Valencia as he looks to have gained the trust of the Portuguese who is famous for his loyal demeanour towards players.

He showed at Porto, Chelsea, and Inter Milan loyalty is a virtue he holds dear with his public relationship with Ricardo Cavarlho, Deco, Frank Lampard, John Terry, and Marco Materazzi amongst others.

Under Jose Mourinho, Manchester United have played three matches so far all in pre-season against Wigan (2-0), Borussia Dortmund (1-4), and Galatasaray (5-2).

The last game against Turkish giants caught the eye majorly because it was the debut of new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the first time Captain Wayne Rooney played under the new boss – both players delivered as the Sweden icon netted a superb half volley while the England star scored a brace.

The frenzy caused by those goals where gratifying for Manchester United fans but a blind eye was turned to the exceptional Antonio Valencia who provided three of the five goals scored on the night.

It was Valencia’s cross that led to Ibrahimovic’s debut goal, he also provided the assist that Rooney put away for his goal and his pinpoint cross was masterfully headed in by Belgium international Marouane Fellaini.

Antonio Valencia is set to become an integral part of Jose Mourinho’s restructuring at Old Trafford and while the major spotlight will be on the likes of Ibrahimovic, Martial, and Rooney the Ecuadorian is definitely set to play a huge role as Manchester United seek to return to their glory days.