Ashley Young has never been a player who you would think could win a Ballon d’Or but he is a reliable, experienced player. Just when everybody thought his stay at Manchester United was over, the Stevenage-born winger reinvented himself as a left back and from time to time, left wing back. His pace and quality set piece deliveries have been crucial to England at the World Cup.
Jose Mourinho has found Young to be a perfect replacement when Luke Shaw was underperforming. Much faster than Daley Blind and more disciplined than Darmian, Young edged 3 defenders to make the left back position his. You do not stay at a club like Manchester United for 7 years and play in the first team if you are not made of steel. The ex-Watford man is certainly trusted by Mou and that’s saying a lot. In contrast, just take look at the likes of Shaw, Martial and co who are all young (not Ashley this time, the english word 😉 ) talented individuals but have not quite earned the manager’s respect.
Southgate was smart in taking Young to the World Cup. When you have such a young team, it’s important to have some experienced players in the squad to guide them. Ashley Young fits that profile perfectly. He has won everything with Manchester United except the Champions League and has played under the greats of our time: Sir Alex Ferguson, Van Gaal, Mourinho. He will be a good presence in the locker room and will keep the youngsters focused on the job which needs to be done in Russia. Ryan Bertrand might feel he should have been on that plane but Young’s experience trumps that of Bertrand’s and Danny Rose is a good substitute for the 33 year old.
At 33 years of age, when players’ careers tend to wind down, Young is living the dream both at club and country level. Keep it up, Ash!
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