Football

Are Manchester United too good for Antonio Valencia?

Valencia has struggled to find form this season. (©GettyImages)
Valencia has struggled to find form this season. (©GettyImages).

When Antonio Valencia first transferred to Manchester United in 2009 for a reported sum of £16 million, many Manchester United fans had their doubts about the winger and whether he would be able to perform at the Theatre of Dreams.

In the seasons following he did show promise with his commanding runs down the right flank and pin point crossing. His unwavering stamina and tremendous physique has been a great asset at beating defenders and chasing down pacey wingers alike.

However things have taken an ironic twist this season. Valencia was handed the iconic number seven jersey, which was formerly adorned by Manchester United legends such as David Beckham, Eric Cantona and most recently Cristiano Ronaldo. Perhaps the pressure was too much for the Ecuadorian winger because his form has taken a massive dip this season.

Valencia has been no different from a one trick pony for most of his time at United but the difference was in past seasons his tricks were effective. For reasons unknown, he has not been able to replicate his past form this season. 

He rarely beats his marker on the right, and on the rare occasion that he does - his crossing has been abysmal. 

How many times have we seen him gallop with the ball down the right only to come to an abrupt standstill when facing off with an opponent? At times like this, he either makes a pass to the nearest central midfielder or the tireless Rafael whose overlapping runs cover his failure to put the ball in the box himself.

His current role and form seems to suggest that perhaps a variation in position could very well help him rediscover his form. Chances are, he is not adapting well to the legendary pressure of the number seven jersey - the expectation of living up to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo would faze any footballer. 

Valencia is still a commanding physical presence and could very well play as a full back as previously seen, giving Rafael the chance to wander up front all he wants. Given his stature, speed and strength - it is hard to envision players getting past Valencia easily on the ground or in the air.

Despite his shortcomings this season, Valencia is still a very hardworking player. Perhaps shuffling his role would see his other qualities put to better use as opposed to his weaknesses being exposed time and again.


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Topics:
Football
Manchester United
Antonio Valencia

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