George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo were the iconic names to wear the Man United No 7. And after a brilliant last season Antonio Valencia was handed the No 7 jersey at the start of this season which certainly raised a few eye brows.
So what happened to the Ecuadorian? It did not have any positive impact on the player and rather his performances went down rapidly and from being the best player last season, Valencia leads the name list for the summer exodus this term. Maybe it was due to the immense pressure that he was asked to carry or maybe the change in United’s style of play, but Valencia has struggled to produce the required goods.
For a man who did wonders during his initial years with United, the above stats does not look promising. A total of 25 appearances with an average rating below 7 and an assist count of 4 is an ironic change from last year. He rarely beats his marker on the right, and on the rare occasion that he does – his crossing has been abysmal and looks more like a trick master rather than a winger. The worst part for the Ecuadorian is that his partner on the right flank Rafael have had better games in the attacking front.
Talking about his disastrous season, Valencia claims that the injuries were the main reason.
“It’s not been quite the season I would have hoped for on a personal front,” Valencia told United Review.
“The injuries I’ve had have held me back a bit and I still get the odd twinge in my leg. That has perhaps affected my progress slightly.
“But I hope I get the chance to be involved in as many games as possible and if I’m picked I’m determined to grab my opportunities and do my best for my team-mates, the manager and the fans.”
Despite Manchester United are 15 clear off City and on the way lift the trophy, there are various places that has to be addressed by Sir Alex Ferguson before the start of the next campaign. With all the three of his wingers having a poor season, the need for a change in personality in more than a need for United.
The final run of games include some tricky games against Chelsea, Real Madrid and Arsenal and Valencia has to work hard if he wants to stay at Old Trafford next term. However, youngster Wilfried Zaha set to arrive at the summer, and the talks about a possible 60 Million clear out at the end of this season things do not look good for Valencia.