Ashley Young has always been on the outskirts at Manchester United; he's never quite settled at Old Trafford, but from time-to-time he has proved why the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson took a gamble on him.
In truth, criticism of the wide-man over the years has been justified: there's been the whole diving controversy and the many inconsistent performances. However, Young's just about stuck about, and probably deserves a bit of praise.
After all, he's not that far off making it to 100 appearances for Manchester United; that's not bad going for the man who reportedly earns £115,000-a-week at the club. And this term, despite the odd injury problem, we've seen a resurgence form the former Aston Villa man.
Finally, under the guidance of Louis van Gaal, Young seems to have a role at the club, and now he's back to fitness it should probably be a permanent one. Why? Because, when fit, Young has arguably been the club's most consistent wide-man this term.
Forget his past inconsistencies, Young finally seems to be a mature player and ready to do whatever it takes to help his team.
Take Monday night for example: bringing Young on for Colombian superstar Radamel Falcao may not have inspired many, but it was enough to change the game at Deepdale.
Suddenly, with Young and Di Maria operating down the wings, United found a balance, and ultimately a route to the Preston North End goal. After 60 minutes of nothing, Manchester United struck on three occasions and Young was key to that.
In fact, Young revealed the message that he received from Van Gaal before he took to the field on Monday night:
“The manager told me to go out there, get on the ball, get crosses into the box and stay wide."
Simple, but effective.
Young & Di Maria
There's no doubt about it, United have looked a far better team with Young in the side, so it's time to hand him the freedom of the left wing. Yes, Adnan Januzaj is a fine young talent, but things haven't really been working out for him of late. He doesn't seem to have a great deal of confidence under the Dutch regime, but his time will come again.
For now, though, Van Gaal must play Young and Di Maria down the flanks. In truth, either could play on the left or right hand side, so between them they have more than enough about them to cause havoc.
It really is time for the Red Devils boss to utilise his wingers again. Young now has the chance to be loved at the Theatre of Dreams - and he can take it.
Manchester United fans: Do you agree? Does Young deserve a place in the starting XI? Have your say in the comments section below!
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