When Anderson first joined Manchester United, little was known about him, except that he was a young talented midfield player.

He possessed incredible pace and attacking flair during his days at Porto but clearly his arrival at United was not based on his attacking potency.

Sir Alex Ferguson often played Anderson in the centre of midfield, expecting him to play the role of a box-to-box or defensive midfielder.

Nothing could have prepared him for his new role at United - and so he started to learn on the job.

Fast-forward to his current situation: he finds himself unused and unwanted at United largely due to his ineffective performances.

Is he really to be blamed for his average performances on the field?

He was never meant to be a tough-tackling, ball-winning, box-to-box midfielder. If fans watch his performances for Porto, they would realise that he did possess exceptional pace and flair. He was able to dribble and weave through opponents and make clever passes to his team-mates in the final third of the pitch.

If he was to play in his natural role, he should be playing as an attacking midfielder, just behind one or two strikers depending on the formation of the team.

To take a creative attacking player and attempt to re-train him in a defensive role was the biggest mistake United made. In doing so, they have completely destroyed his natural talent and the abilities that came along with it.

He is not as quick as he used to be; instead he has more weight on him now to suit the combative environment in the middle of the park. His long passing and through balls have improved slightly - once in a while fans get a glimpse of his superb defence-splitting passes but not too often given he hardly has the chance to do so. Whatever dribbling ability and confidence he had has greatly dwindled.

As a player who is still struggling to fit into his given role, and as a person who appears to have lost his natural ability, Anderson is now pretty much a ruined player whose talent has been wasted.

Had his qualities been identified and put to use much earlier in his United career, the Red Devils may not have needed to sign Japanese playmaker Shinji Kagawa to add creativity to the attack.

Fans and neutrals will never know what could have been - only what has been done.

Either way, Anderson's time seems to be coming to an end at Old Trafford and hopefully he is able to reignite his career away from England.

A player who came to the Theatre of Dreams with such huge potential - he may now never realise his true potential.


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