Monday, 11 May 2015

Ashley Young is flying again.


With the announcement, last summer, of Louis van Gaal as the new manager of Manchester United there must have been a few players at Old Trafford instructing their agents to start looking for pastures new.

Among those, was possibly Ashley Young who had endured a torrid season under David Moyes as had most of the team.

Having been brought to United three years previously in 2011 by Alex Ferguson his career started well enough that season with some encouraging performances and eye-catching goals. He was outstanding in the 8-2 demolition of Arsenal at the start of his Old Trafford career contributing with a double.

His encouraging start was brought to an abrupt halt when he suffered an injury that kept him out until February 2012. In his absence, United had been knocked out of the Champions League and had to compete in the Europa league.

Although he chipped in with goals in the remainder of the season he wasn't quite the same player as when he had arrived.

In Ferguson's last season as manager, 2012-13 Young made a total of 18 appearances and didn't find the net once. His season was blighted by accusations from all parties about his unsportsmanlike diving in the oppositions area for penalties. It became a regular event and certainly didn't bring him any sympathy from the United fans.

Once Ferguson had stepped down it was the turn of David Moyes to try and bring the best out of Young but the new problem for Young was the form of a certain Adnan Januzaj.

Januzaj made more appearances than Young that season and chipped in with one more goal than him. To rub it in the teenager even replaced Young as a substitute to make his league debut.

It was frustrating to watch Young play as he clearly had so much talent, but he seemed to be struggling with his form and even the diving question raised its ugly head and once again blighted his reputation.

So, with yet another new manager entering the arena last summer the writing seemed to be on the wall for Young along with other players including Fellaini. Young had even lost his place in the England set up since being involved in the 2012 Euro's.

However, here we are coming to the end of the season in which United look to have claimed a priceless fourth place in the Premier League thanks in no small part to the performances week in week out of Ashley Young.

Originally used as a left wing back in Louis van Gaal's dreaded 3-5-2 formation at the beginning of the season Young never gave up or complained about how difficult he was finding it and how frustrating it was to play in that position.

He was cautioned for diving against Sunderland back in August which van Gaal must have reacted strictly to as there has been thankfully no repeat of it since.

Once the manager saw sense and realised that his side wouldn't win anything with that setup and reverted to a more traditional four at the back and wingers Young was off and flying.

So far this season his has made the most Premier League appearances of his United career, 24 and contributed with 4 assists and 28 shots netting twice. However, it's not his goals that have impressed it's his wing play that has made him one of United's success stories this season.

Like his teammate Fellaini who had also endured a tough season under Moyes, Young has been rejuvenated under van Gaal and is finally repaying the loyal supporters with some sterling displays.

His work rate down the left against Crystal Palace in United's latest victory summed up his transformation and earned the win and a valuable three points. It could also see him recalled to the England squad. He deserves nothing less.

Even with the imminent arrival of Memphis Depay I still feel that Young has a lot to offer United and it could be Adnan Januzaj who becomes surplus to requirements and loaned out next season.

If so, how the tables have turned.

Update: Ashley signed a new 3 year contract at United on August 7th 2015.

Thanks for reading.

Miles Dunton.