soccersweep has never held back in its opinions of the enigma that is Manchester United winger Nani. He’s infuriating and bewitching in unequal measure. He perhaps has the most dazzling footwork of any player at Manchester United but so frequently disappoints at the business end. Manchester United are a team that hates to give the ball away but forward moves so often break down when the ball goes to the Portuguese. Even his goal celebration is over complicated. It may seem cruel but one could surmise that Nani just doesn’t have the football brain to realise his true potential. He does the hard things well and the easy things badly – and this annoys his team mates and manager no end.
But, after a thrilling performance against Reading on Monday night, we are again left asking whether coach Sir Alex Ferguson should try once more to work with the gifts that Nani does have. Yes, he may lack the vision to unlock a defence with a sublime pass, but he does have the physical qualities to out fox and out run the opposition. Nani is one of the quickest players in the Manchester United team and can leave his man for dead from a standing start. He also has a cracking, if inconsistent shot on him. And some of that footwork is impossible to execute without serious talent.
With Antonio Valencia still suffering his worst form for the club and Ashley Young unable to inspire in a way that Manchester United wingers should, there is still time for Nani to cement a place in the first eleven for the massive run in which United seem to be lining up.
But if the winger is to finally succeed on a consistent basis, Fergie surely needs to communicate the importance of simplicity in his game. Nani has all the natural attributes to be a sensational winger but too often makes the wrong choice or delivers a disappointing final ball.
If you are reading Nani lad, all you have to do when you receive the ball is get down that wing and get a decent cross in lad. United don’t need any more from you. They have great finishers. They just need good service into the box. That is your job Nani lad. Beat your man, get your boots white and get a cross in. Is it really that hard for someone of your talent?
If Nani could play in the same unselfish and direct way as Antonio Valencia you would be looking at a genuine world star. Valencia will never be as talented as Nani but, even off form, he gives much more to the team with his work ethic and supply line. He does his job well. Nani, on the other hand, seems to want to beat the entire opposition on his own. Which is all well and good if he could actually do it. But he can’t. Noone can.
Nani has been at Manchester United for nearly 6 years and the penny should have dropped a long time ago. Sir Alex Ferguson will be dismayed that he hasn’t managed to develop that huge potential in the same way that he did with Cristiano Ronaldo. So many players, in similar circumstances, would’ve been given their marching orders a long time ago. But, such is the raw talent of Nani that Fergie has retained his services in the hope that one day he will truly hatch, like his countryman did for Manchester United back in 2005. But surely the chances are running out for Nani. He may never play for a club as big as Manchester United again so he should view this as his big chance to shine.
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