Jumaat, 15 Julai 2011

Nice article on Ashley Young

Ashley Young's £16million switch to Manchester United has been met with a seemingly lukewarm reception from their fans, but I think the England ace will prove a superb purchase by Sir Alex Ferguson.

I have followed Young's career closely since he broke through at Watford in 2005, when I was working in London for the Daily Mirror.

And he turned up in the midlands not long after me, in January 2007, to sign for Aston Villa (quite by chance, I might add. I am not suggesting we are best mates!).

So I've had an opportunity to see Young blossom into an England international who is now on the verge of establishing himself in Fabio Capello's team.

This summer was the perfect time for Young to seek a fresh challenge that will help him take his game to new heights.

I am really excited about seeing Young play for the champions, as I think he is going to be a simply MASSIVE success - he has only just turned 26 and is entering his prime with plenty of experience behind him.

The bloke has everything you need as a modern footballer: he can score, he can pass and cross with either foot, he can dissect defences with an intelligent ball, he is quick and has a superb work ethic.

I remember Villa's then-manager Gerard Houllier saying last season that Young, who has rarely been injured as a pro, consistently ran the furthest in both training and matches.

At United, where he can concentrate on his attacking instincts and where team-mates will appreciate his vision more, I believe he will be a key player next season.

Playing alongside Wayne Rooney at club level will surely only benefit England as well.

I first revealed United's interest in Young back in December , when the Old Trafford club initially contacted Villa about the star. 

I also exclusively broke the news, on June 9 , that Young had agreed a four-year deal worth a massive £130,000-a-week at Old Trafford. 

So I can write with some authority that Young turned down a more lucrative move to Manchester City because of Ferguson's exciting plans for him.

At United, the versatile Young, who loves playing in the hole, will get a license to thrill - and may well end up playing off Rooney as a second striker with a brief to roam.

His dead-ball skills will also be valuable as he can superbly pick out players at set-pieces.

The Old Trafford punters should definitely watch out for Young in the Champions League, where he will have the element of surprise on his side having never played against most of the opposition before.

Young has long been a master at winning free-kicks - within the law - as he tends to go down whenever contact is made by rival players in dangerous areas.

Domestically, his former Villa manager Martin O'Neill used to moan that officials thought Young was perhaps a diver, but whenever Villa were - albeit briefly - in the UEFA Cup or Europa League, foreign refs nearly always blew up for any fouls on him.

Young is also an impressively consistent player. He usually performed capably for Villa and made a contribution to just about every game, whether by scoring, getting an assist, winning a crucial set-piece or tracking back conscientiously.

I remember only rarely giving him less than seven out of 10 - or six at the very worst - in my match ratings.

Despite my glowing tribute to the lad, Villa have done well to pocket £16m for his services considering he had just one year left on his contract.

It had been clear to me for a while that Young was anxious to move on and that he felt hindered by the limited ability of some of his team-mates.

Young needs no compliments in this column, because his self-confidence is already sky high.

He will feel he belongs at Old Trafford, just as life at Villa battling to avoid relegation was beginning to grind.
His body-language on the pitch had become, to my mind, frequently negative.

He got exasperated over mis-placed passes and the failure of team-mates to get on the end of his deliveries.
There were also times last season when I felt Young was playing for a move - doing what was best for him as an individual on the pitch rather than serving the team.

And I certainly wouldn't have made him captain in Stiliyan Petrov's absence.

So if young Marc Albrighton steps up to dazzle on the wing this season, Darren Bent continues to bang them in and Villa bring in the quick Charles N'Zogbia from Wigan to compensate for Young's absence, I think they could yet benefit from his exit.

New Villa manager Alex McLeish is trying to mould a unified team, just as he did at Birmingham City, and there will be no room for massive egos if he is to succeed.

I genuinely think Young's move is in everyone's best interests - although, sadly, it has added to Villa's reputation as a selling club, as Stewart Downing is aiming to be the next to go.

Young won the PFA Young Player of the Year award in 2008-2009.

Now I wouldn't be at all surprised if Young progressed to win the PFA Player of the Year next season.
I reckon he will be good for at least 15 goals, and even more assists, at United.

Tiada ulasan:

Catat Ulasan