How flourishing Ashley Young is ageing like a fine wine

How flourishing Ashley Young is ageing like a fine wine

It was a night when Manchester United further bolstered their claim as City's only realistic title rivals as they put four goals past Watford. But the night belonged to Ashley Young, who on return to his former stomping ground scored a quick-fire double in the first half. United's attackers blitzed past their opponents in the first half an hour, scoring three goals in the space of thirteen minutes. The first two were scored by Ashley Young who started in the left wing back position while Martial scored the third. Watford rallied in the last quarter of the game and threatened to spoil their party only to be pegged back by Lingard's Messiesque run and finish.

 

 

Young was the star in the United's thrashing of Watford

 

United started the match hoping to avoid third consecutive away defeat for the first time since 1996. Just when Watford's midfield was starting to take control of the match, Young unleashed a sweet daisy-cutter from the edge of the area into Gomes' net after Lingard had passed to him. His goal in the last match against Brighton may have been taken away from him but there was no doubt over this one. Six minutes later it turned into a dream day at office for him when he curled a free kick away from Gomes into the top corner, a finish Beckham would have been proud of, after Pogba was dragged back by Doucoure 25 yards away from goal. It was Young's first double since March, 2012. Ashley Young seems to have found a new lease of life under Mourinho this season after spending the last couple of seasons in and out of the team, a period which was heavily hampered by injuries. Jose Mourinho's trust in senior players and a dearth of options at left back for United has invigorated Young and he has made the left back position his own this season, starting the last 10 premier League games. Ashley Young joined United as a winger but after some lacklustre displays after the first season and fierce competition for the position at wing moved him closer to the exit door. But Louis Van Gaal thought otherwise and offered him a lifeline by fielding him at left wing back position where he performed competently throughout his tenure sometimes even starting at right back.

 

But credit must be given to Young for making the most of the opportunities that got his way. He was once deemed too small to make it as a professional footballer at Watford Youth Academy but five years later he was announced as Aston Villa's record signing and in 2011 summer, he joined United for almost double the amount Villa paid for him. It wasn't until David Moyes' reign that his number of starts started to diminish and Moyes even tried to offload him but a change of manager did him a world of good after Moyes was sacked. Van Gaal's 3-5-2 formation required two wing backs of which he became one of them, playing at left wing back, a situation which was more borne out of necessity than anything else. He was sometimes also deployed at right back or right wing back in Valencia's absence. If Van Gaal loved one thing, it was versatility and Young had abundance of that in him and he never shied away from any opportunity to be in starting XI. Mourinho's first season at club was more of a stop-start one for him as he suffered a number of injuries. This summer, as many as five Premier League clubs were interested in signing him but he opted to remain at United and fight for his place with other left backs at the club. Mourinho's trust in Premier League proven players along with his sheer determination has resulted in him being one of the first names on the starting XI sheet. The upturn in his form has led to England call-up for him after being away from the national setup for the last few years. It would've been crazy to think four years back that he would still be at United now let alone be in the starting XI. But if Young continues to do what he has done all his life - bounce back and have people eat their words, it would be even crazier to think that he wouldn't be in England's squad for World Cup in Russia.

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