Many Manchester United fans will look at Ashley Young today and say ”I knew it”. There was indeed a lot of questions asked when Sir Alex Ferguson paid nearly €20 million in 2011 for a player entering the last year of his contract at Aston Villa.
It had all started rather well for the former Aston Villa player. Young’s first appearances for United were very convincing, his best game being the 8-2 dismantling of Arsenal at Old Trafford when he scored two fantastic goals and provided an assist to Park Ji-Sung.
The rest of the season didn’t go as well as the first few months, but Young was still in Ferguson’s plans and also started all four of England games at the Euro 2012. Since then, Young’s performances at United have significantly dropped.
There is a difference between a Manchester United player and a good Premier League player, and Young belongs to the second category. The winger has never lived up to his transfer fee and has made the headlines more for his dives than for his performances lately.
The abundance of wingers at United will make it more complicated for Young to get playing time. Young doesn’t have anything in his game that other United wingers don’t. Nani just signed a new five-year contract, and it’s clear that Moyes counts on the Portuguese winger who has got more pace than Young, is better on the ball and has an eye for the goal.
Young hasn’t scored since May 2012 (his last goal was for England against San Marino). Antonio Valencia has a directness in his game and a work rate that will be needed a lot this season. Youngsters Wilfried Zaha and Adnan Januzaj are technical and have great movement on and off the ball, along with great pace. More importantly, they have time on their side and will be much better than they are now.
Young is 28 and should be playing his best soccer now. Even Shinji Kagawa, who is primarily a no. 10, seems to have gone ahead of him in the pecking order.
In his third season at Old Trafford, Young has yet to prove that he’s good enough to play for Manchester United. He looks nothing like the player that his former manager at Aston Villa, Martin O’neill, compared to Lionel Messi in 2008. Looking at the other options that David Moyes has, it would be only logical to see him being shown the door in January.