The Ashley Young Effect


By George Hartrey.

So, we have all realised Ashley Young was a fantastic signing for our squad. He’s already scored two goals for Manchester United (three if you count the one vs. West Bromwich Albion, but that has been classified as a Steven Reid own goal), and has provided plenty of assists. He is a maturing footballer, who can deliver excellent crosses, which is a real asset for a Man United team with aerial threats such as Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez and Nemanja Vidic. He’s a great winger, he can play on either wing, which is great when he’s playing with Nani, because they can switch wings, interchanging positions and confuse the most resolute full backs.

On the other hand, I am personally a big fan of Luis Antonio Valencia. Last season (once he had recovered from his traumatic injury) he played very well on the right with Nani on the left. I for one would rather Young and Valencia play, however it’s difficult to keep such a talented player like Nani on the bench. This is where the discussions of new formations come in. Young has the ability to fulfil several positions offering differing dimensions for Sir Alex Ferguson. There’s the option of 4-4-1-1, playing Ashley Young or Nani just behind the striker. The only problem with that is the talent we have in our range of strikers. Whether it being Rooney, Berbatov or Hernandez, or young talents like Welbeck or Macheda. For difficult fixtures and European away trips 4-5-1/4-3-3 as a wide forward is an option. In a 4-2-3-1 formation both Young and Nani are capable of playing anywhere across the ‘3’ (outside left, outside right or as a central winger), which would allow all three to be selected. Do not rule out the possibility of Valencia the right wing back. Whenever he plays, he has a certain will to defend as well as attack, so he shows the formalities to play at the back. Right back maybe the best option for the Ecuadorian if you consider Sir Alex’s preferred formation and the exciting brand of football his team have started the season with, but with Rafael and Smalling able to play there also, it would leave promising young talents out.

As he is only 26 years of age, he adds to our new young look side. With De Gea in goal, Smalling, Jones, Evans and Evra at the back, Nani, Cleverley, Anderson, Young in midfield and Rooney and Welbeck up front, that’s an average age of just 23, and that team walked over Spurs with a 3-0 win two weeks ago. I see this as a great prospect for United, and I can see us winning a few trophies this season with a similar team.

Young has always been a great young winger in the footballing world. Starting his career in the Premier League with Watford, he was later purchased by Aston Villa where he spent a few seasons. Now he’s dressed in red. I have no doubt he’ll gain a lot of points for people on fantasy football this season, with his goal scoring ability, and his ability to create goals for others. His tantalising footwork can dazzle even the best of full backs, and his immense skills mean he can take it round them with ease.

He’s a fabulous prospect for United. Sadly for me, his arrival is likely to keep Valencia out of the team because he and Nani have a fabulous two foot ability aiding fluidity, whereas Valencia is very right footed causing certain formations to become rigid. However he will be used as a defensive winger, a substitute to fill in for injured, suspended or fatigued players.

Young is a fabulous player, and has already established his role in the England National Squad. All in all a fantastic signing for our side.

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