One of the most baffling elements of a season that has if we’re completely honest at times flattered to deceive a little for the Reds has been the fall from grace of a certain Antonio Valencia.
I’ve lost count of the amount of time, pages, energy and thoughts I’ve spent pondering over how why and what to do about the Ecuadorian winger’s staggering loss of form.
On Monday an idea that’s been forming in the minds of more than a few United fans was made to look all the more attractive as Valencia finally gave a performance that was, well, almost Tony V like.
On a day at Stamford Bridge for the FA Cup replay, where many of the United side were well below par, Valencia actually managed to emerge with some credit even earning praise from Sir Alex Ferguson.
The United boss noted: “I thought to be honest with you over the 90 minutes only Antonio Valencia reached the standard we expect of them.”
The winger’s performance at right back was one of his best of the season and it’s a position he’s occupied before with some success. One of the main problems with playing Valencia at right back has been that it’s deemed a ‘waste’ of his talents, yet let’s be honest how dangerous has he been on the right wing this season?
Of course United have a right back who’s enjoying a hugely successful season, one could argue it’s the opposite of what’s happened to Valencia, as Rafael has gone from strength to strength.
One of Rafael’s biggest assets is his ability to surge forward and often wreak havoc in the opposition defence, in some ways again he’s almost the opposite of Valencia who’s often reluctant and indecisive in attack.
Rafael has played on the wing before, most memorably against Arsenal for in the FA Cup quarter final two seasons ago. Looking at the stats, the little Brazilian has three goals and the same number of assists in the league, not a shabby record for a full back, just imagine what he could do on the wing.
As for Valencia, can he truly be used at right back? It’s a position he’s been used in before and on the whole has done well, so would it really be that much of a risk to try it?
United have Wilfried Zaha on the way, not to mention both Nani and Ashley Young all capable of playing on the right wing, but with the latter two enduring somewhat inconsistent seasons and all three able to play on the left, is it really such a bad idea?
Let me know your thoughts, doubts, comments and insults below:
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