How Ashley Young has become an integral figure for Manchester United

Ashley Young, the controversial winger who bought spark into the nations eyes when he was transferred to Aston Villa from Watford for a fee of around eight million pounds, the same year in 2007 Young received his first international call up, due to his exceptional skill, pace and desire for goals, the perfect attributes for a winger.

However, Young’s prime time of his career so far was at Aston Villa and his transfer to Manchester United in 2011 soon became his downfall. He continued to be a recognisable face across the nation, but for the wrong reasons, he had became renowned for his diving, cheating and poor attitude, soon making him an outcast at Manchester United losing his place in the England squad, so just why now is Young becoming an integral figure for Unite?

The dismissal of David Moyes and the arrival of Louis Van Gaal is one that has gave the once set to be world class winger a lifeline, Young has been a key asset for United this season, under a new manager every player had a chance to show their capabilities, Young certainly made the most of his chance in pre season.

In Van Gaal’s very first game in charge it saw his new side face LA Galaxy, the emphatic 7-0 result for United saw Young bag himself a second half brace, the all round performance from a squad with new faces is one that would set them up perfectly in creating a new system at Man United.

Young sparked even more magic amongst the United fans as in the International Champions Cup prior to the start of the Premier League campaign, United secured a comfortable 3-1 victory in front of a crowd of over 109,000 fans and in this astonishing atmosphere, Young was the man again to guide United to glory as he added another brace to his name.

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At the start of this seasons Premier League campaign, Young didn’t possess the form he showed pre season and in United’s poor start to the season losing to Swansea and drawing against Burnley and Sunderland, Young soon became an outcast at United again after diving instances which saw him being booked and poor performances on field.

It’s taken Young time for young to establish a position in which his prime performance unveils, throughout this season the expectations have been set high by manager Van Gaal and Young has had to play in wing-back roles, straight up full-back in a back four and also on the wing his most recognisable position, however Young has exceeded in each of these positions and must certainly be a favoured by his Dutch manager being a first team selection the majority of weeks.

With Young being forced to play in such diverse roles, this is essentially what has made him the integral figure he has grew into this season, his attacking stats certainly aren’t anything special this season only having one goal to his name in the recent 1-0 victory against Newcastle. Young also only has one assist to his name this campaign so far, but the 29 year old has still looked in excellent form, especially over the last few weeks; Young’s performances have been clinical which has impacted clearly with United on a four game win streak.

Being so heavily relied on to perform both defence and attacking duties for United, Young has developed as a whole player and since he recent upsurge in form, it seems as though his attitude has massively improved. The much improved performances were ones which would’ve been recognise by England manager Roy Hodgson who recently had the dilemma to pick his 24-man squad for the European Championship qualifier match against Lithuania and the friendly against the Italians.

Youngs’ recent performances were highly rated by his manager and it was a shock to a lot of fans and people involved in the footballing world that Young wasn’t in the squad selection being a Manchester United regular, the likes of Andros Townsend for Tottenham was one of the surprise selections ahead of young with the only reasonable explanation being that Hodgson wants to build the national side around youth.

Young is clearly recognised by Van Gaal and his assistant Ryan Giggs as a player who still has something to prove, at 29 years old, having a lower price tag and fewer goals, Young is still being picked ahead of the likes of £59 million winger Angel Di Maria, proving United still have faith in Young to succeed.

Hitting the age Young is means he is likely to grow much more as a player, just attain more experience. Even after United’s summer blowout spending unthinkable money on a bunch of players, Van Gaal has opted with the faces that were there prior to his arrival, Young, Michael Carrick, Wayne Rooney and Marouane Fellani have all learnt to play together, their time with Moyes together on the pitch was limited but now they are the experience in the United side which is on course to secure a Champions League position for the next year’s campaign.

Being so dynamic on the field has allowed Young to become the integral player he is today for United, he will do the job he can in any position he is played and he will do a successful job, having the ability to successfully defend and attack and perform any task that is required of him, Young is an asset to United and has impacted individually on their successful league position.

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