There might not be a better qualified Manchester United player to speak to about unsung heroes than midfielder Michael Carrick. It seems that he is only truly appreciated by Manchester United fans who see him running things in the engine room week in week out.
And he has targeted another United player for praise after recent performances. That man is Ecuador international Antonio Valencia. Carrick told Manutd.com
“He is immense,”
“It is the work he does that doesn’t get noticed, things like carrying the ball up the pitch for 30 or 40 yards when you have been defending.”
We couldn’t agree more. Antonio Valencia, like Ashley Young, looked as if his Manchester United career was coming to an end as he lost the knack of beating opponents over the last couple of seasons. His problem seemed psychological as much as anything. For he still has great pace and athleticism. But he was becoming increasingly frustrated on the right wing under Sir Alex and then David Moyes.
Louis van Gaal’s move to play him as a wing back has completely rejuvenated the hard working winger. We think that he is perhaps already considered first choice wing back now after some fine performances under LvG.
Valencia’s diligence, pace and power mean that the regularly injured Rafael de Silva may struggle too regain his place once fully fit.
Let’s see some on Valencia’s better moments against Liverpool. Manchester United fans: When both are fit would you choose Rafa or Antonio for the right back/right wing back slot?