The Red Report: Awesome Antonio, US Tour, CM & ‘Fat’ Ronaldo Discussed

Our second topic is Antonio Valencia. Quite simply, discuss…

Justin| Red Flag Flying High: Antonio Valencia’s return seems to have galvanised the team already. Rooney’s certainly reaping the rewards and there seems to be a bit more energy among the players than there was a few weeks ago. Nani has been awesome but United now have two fast skilful wingers capable of getting past almost any full back.

As for Valencia’s stint at right back in the Champions League, what can you say? A master-class.

Bricki | Stretford-End: As I wrote in January, the return of Valencia could be the thing that swings the title race for us and could event turn 1 trophy into 2 or even all 3. He offers a wing play that we don’t really have at the club anymore, an old school up and down winger who can support the full back as needed. His return also allows for Nani to get a break and gives us options out wide we did not have a month ago. I am surprised however at how well he has done since he returned, I expected only 45 min appearances not the 90 min solid efforts he has put in.

Couldn’t be happier that such a nice guy is back and not lost any skill/pace.

TG | ManUtd24: It’s great having him back. He was superb against Chelsea when he moved to right back and thankfully he seems to be suffering no ill signs from a long lay-off on the sidelines. He gets the best out of Rooney, too – was there any coincidence that Rooney scored a hat trick against West Ham with the Ecuadorian on the pitch? I think not…

Siddarth | Bangalore to Old Trafford: Getting him back has been a huge boost to our title challenge! Having him back, it gives us options on the wings, and gives us more variety in attack. It great to see that Antonio hasn’t lost much of his pace or any other attribute due to his horrific injury. If anything it seems to have made him mentally stronger! It’s great to have Tony V back.

Alan | RedForceRising: The return of Antonio Valencia has been an absolute blessing. He’s made such an impact since returning from injury and his hard work down the right and willingness to help defend seems to have lessened the workload of his team mate and made United more solid as a unit. His tactical awareness and work ethic allowed Sir Alex to play him as an emergency right back and the sight of both Nani and him down the right wing was simply awesome. If he could learn to be less predictable in his attacking play and a bit more selfish when he’s in a good position to shoot, he could just be the spark that drives to major success this season.

Herzog’s Child | Stretford-End: Someone deal that lad a drug-test. Blimey, he’s a machine, isn’t he? Oddly, despite the seriousness of his injury, I didn’t have many concerns about his return. ‘Nails,’ is the correct term of endearment, I believe. There’s a certain ‘right, let’s just do it’ attitude about him; he’s everything that Nani is not, in a way, and infinitely more likeable, as a result (that said, both are clearly wonderful options to have available.). His delightful little understanding with Wayne has already ignited – to both their credit – and he’s looking as physically strong and imposing as always, incredibly. He adds a great balance to the side, as he sticks to his role. Obviously he’s not as skilled a player as Nani, but he doesn’t do anything silly, just steadies ship. His conversion to RB on Wednesday night showed another lovable trait he harbours: discipline. Much applauded for his shift and sprint, his defensive side – often overlooked – is distinctly well honed, also. It’s been no shock that his return has also heralded two of our best away performances this season. To think he’s just returning, too, is also very warming – how bloody good will he be at full fitness? He’s great – a real trooper, who just gets it and does what’s needed. No fannying about, just produce. A smashing outlet.

Chudi | The Busby Way: Valencia’s return has come at the perfect time, I remember writing don’t expect too much too soon from him but he has slide back into the team like he never left.
Last week against West Ham he was on his game and ran Bridge as well as anyone else he came up against ragged and against Chelsea he put in a good shift as a winger and as a full back too.

It may be presumptuous to say that Rooney’s improved form has something to do with Antonio’s return but the two have coincided and when his crosses start finding Rooney then he’ll get even better than he has been.

For all the stick he and we got when we signed him and the comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo he has taken the role and made it his own and his now importance can’t be understated.

What an absolute bonus it is to have him back – like having a new signing.

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We’re off to America again this summer on our pre-season tour – does it matter where we go?

Alan | RedForceRising: Well, since they’re going on a pre-season tour and want to do so without much mayhem, the USA seems a good choice, although Chicharito might just draw bigger crowds than United anticipate. The coaches always rate the facilities very highly and the opposition is a lot more meaningful than Hangzhou Greentown.

Justin| Red Flag Flying High: As a fan it matters as you always think ‘can I build a holiday around watching The Reds?’ For the club though forget the marketing side of things, I’m more interested in are we going to get a good enough standard of game to be able to make any judgements on young players who are given a chance? In the past players like Chris Eagles and Obertan have looked good in pre-season only to be found wanting when it comes to competitive games.

I think the tour of the USA will tell us very little about whether certain players can make the grade but I suppose for the club it increases our ‘global appeal’ I do hate that term. It could be worse though, we could get an NBA player to associate himself with us!

TG | ManUtd24: It’s pre-season so it shouldn’t really matter. And with United’s ever-growing fanbase in the States, it’s not the worst ploy to go over there again given the success of their last visit. It’s marketing decision too and all big businesses need to do it.

Bricki | Stretford-End: 10 years ago I would have said that where we go in pre-season is not important but with the arrival of Mourinho at Chelsea and the fact you needed to hit the ground running to be contending for the title I think the place you do preseason now is vital in order to have players ready to go come the first day of the season. I enjoy us going to America because with the relationship with Nike and the fact Americans know the importance in sport of being fit and prepared we use some of the best facilities around and face opposition that will have players up and ready. I find America a better venue than the Far East in everyway bar the fantastic support we receive in the far east.

Siddarth | Bangalore to Old Trafford: I really don’t think it does, pre-season used to be arranged with the idea of getting the team match fit and prepared for the regular season, but it has now become a marketing ploy. So going to the U.S is probably with the sole intention of raising our profile in the country and increases our fan base. Plus if we go on to a treble this season, after the U.S pre-season, I don’t mind the team going there every season!

Herzog’s Child | Stretford-End: A tiresome, somewhat dull, venture now – and one many reds are beginning to lose interest in. As a night-owl, the KO times don’t bother me too much, but the games are usually fairly sub-standard. Lining up against Barcelona will be a decent outing, I guess, but it’s just another PR-driven exercise, isn’t it? The trip to Munich a few summers ago was far more appealing, I found. It was cheaper to get there, the standard of opposition was fairly decent, the ground is superb and so is the city itself. A little trip like that, followed by a number of fixtures around the U.K. would be more rewarding. There are plenty of clubs around England who are struggling financially, particularly smaller clubs; United coming to town would ensure a decent gate, and finances for said team. I’d rather that than hauling our arses all the way to America again for another laborious stint. Shirt-sales and adding to the – *wretches* – ‘brand’ is evidently more important. Will it affect the team itself? No, not particularly. They’re catered for well, and it hasn’t been detrimental before. It’s just a little boring.

Chudi | The Busby Way: The trip to America is just to fill he coffers and whilst it is after all pre season, I think it is looked at more for it’s financial benefits than it’s health and fitness benefits.

The way the all-star game was being promoted with Henry and Beckham’s names being thrown around shows it is more for the money/Entertainment than the football.

The standard of game we get out there isn’t going to be the best but it should be reasonably challenging as it was last summer.

The game against Barcelona will be something to look forward to though!

Marketing ploy? Yet the facilities mean the players are well prepared for when the season starts.
Continued on page three.