It’s not very often that, I’ll admit that I’m wrong on this site, in fact it’s happened only once in the past, when after last season’s Old Trafford derby, I was compelled to apologise for the criticism I’d previously levelled at John O’Shea.
This time it’s Ashley Young who deserves my apologies, not because of any any real criticism I’ve given him since he signed for United, but for the apathy I felt towards his arrival.
It was a story I read in that last bastion of journalistic integrity- The Mirror that caused me question whether United should sign the then-Villa winger.
The Mirror claimed with its usual inaccuracy, that Young’s arrival would signal the departure of Nani- a player who’s always been a favourite of mine.
The Mirror noted:
“Nani’s future at Manchester United will come under scrutiny once the Premier League champions have completed the capture of Ashley Young.
“The Portuguese winger is unhappy that United have refused to offer him an improvement on the £70,000-a-week contract extension that he signed last March.
“And with United set to complete the £15million signing of Young from Aston Villa now that the winger has returned from international duty with England, Sir Alex Ferguson could cash in on the 24-year-old if Real Madrid firm up interest in him by lodging a bid.”
I immediately panicked and couldn’t post an article quickly enough, sharing my shock and horror at such a prospect.
“Young In, Nani Out, Say It Aint So” was the title of my piece which ranted on about the need to keep Nani and whether we actually needed a player who “may or may not be United class” to painfully quote myself.
The nadir of my drivel was where I claimed with all the assurance of someone who actually needs to get some sleep: “I’m not too keen on the Young deal if I’m totally honest, simply because I don’t think we actually need him. Young’s a right footed player who plays on the left, but I feel United would be better served with a naturally left footed winger- an Antonio Valencia for the left hand side if you will.” Ouch!
It may have only been a few competitive games for United and a couple for England, since he joined us but even an idiot like myself can see that Young, well and truly is ‘United class.’ He’s been nothing short of a revelation and showed his ability again for England tonight, not just with his goal but also his general play. Against Arsenal he was unlucky not to get the man of the match award – despite Wayne Rooney’s hat-trick, while against WBA he actually was given that accolade.
Watching Young against Spurs a couple of weeks ago, I was amazed at just how much he wanted the ball and how willing he was to attack either the full back, or the space. Also unlike my beloved Nani sometimes, was always aware of when a team mate was in a better position and despite my claims to the contrary- equally adept at whipping in cross with his left as he was with his right.
It may seem premature to claim Young has shown he’s good enough for United yet, but I’m fully prepared to stick my neck out and predict he will be a great player for the club.
Young is a joy to watch and the type of player United fans have always loved, the skilful winger, who can not just win games, but also entertain.
I feel it only prudent to expose some of my fellow writers misgivings before Young signed. Stephen Juniper wrote:
“Although I think Young is a good player is he really what united need? I dont think he is! we already have, probably got the two best wingers in the premier league in Valencia and Nani.”
While Steve Crabtree went one further with an article back in June titled: “Why I’m Not Excited About Ashley Young.” I’m sure I don’t need to tell you the crux of Steve’s argument.
Before you delete this site from your newsnow list, it’s worth noting not all of our writers were quite so foolhardy. Ryan Donovan wrote an article called: “Seven Reasons Why Ashley Young Will Be A Great Signing For United.” I’m sure I don’t need to explain the sentiment behind it.
While Tom Daniel made Young the first reason of his Five Reasons I’m Already Excited For The New Season article, stating: I’ve thought the winger belongs at United ever since he started to flash potential when Watford came to the Premier League, now he’s here this signing could be a big impact on the team.
It seems as a site, we had somewhat differing opinions on whether Young, was good enough to make an impact but I have admit I was doubtful to say the least.
Already Young has proven myself and all the other doubters wrong, so for having such a negative view and for failing to recognise just what he could bring to the side. Ashley Young, I apologise and look forward to watching more of you at United.
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