Home » ARTICLES » What Has Happened To Antonio Valencia?

What Has Happened To Antonio Valencia?

published :

Third season syndrome? Too much pressure? Fear?

Whatever you want to call it an alarming feature of United’s season this season is the disappearance of Antonio Valencia’s form. Manchester United signed the Ecuadorian for a reported fee of £18 million pounds from Wigan Athletic in the summer of 2009.

Wanting a high profile player to replace such as Cristiano Ronaldo , who is arguably the best player in the world , fans met this signing with doubt and frustration. Frank Ribery was at the time the man to be chosen as the Portuguese stars replacement.

Since then Valencia extinguished every doubt people may have had. He was a key figure in the 2009-10 season setting up a majority of the 34 goals scored by Wayne Rooney. Rooney even said the following about Valencia:

‘’I couldn’t have scored the amount of goals I have this season without him. He’s been great this year and the quality of balls he puts in the box for me has been unbelievable.”

He had an amazing first season making 47 appearances in total and grabbing 7 goals and a bagful of assists along the way. His second season was cut short in September fracturing and dislocating his left ankle in the 0-0 Champions League game against Rangers. He returned in March and dislodged Nani in the right midfield slot. Valencia gave Ashley Cole, repeatedly dubbed ‘the best left back in the world’, a horrid time at Old Trafford as he helped United to a 2-1 win to clinch the title.

There was no question that Valencia was back.

Playing for Ecuador in the Copa America in summer 2011 Valencia picked up an injury. An injury to his left ankle. The very ankle he had seriously injured months earlier.

He finally returned for the away trip to Benfica and then made his Premier League return at Chelsea at right back. He played respective games against Norwich, Stoke and Leeds there.  He then switched to his preferred right midfield slot against Aldershot and Galati scoring in both games but not the Valencia we know nonetheless.

Questions are being asked now of the Ecuadorian after less than impressive games this season.

Valencia’s main attribute is taking on the full back and crossing dangerous balls into the move. He did the simple things so well. Now he seems a shadow of that. He seems afraid to take the full back on. He doesn’t seem confident in himself to beat his man.

Could it be fear that has caused this? He sustained two injuries to his left ankle and may be afraid of what a third might do.

Valencia’s injury and Nani’s blistering form has meant he has had to spend time on the bench or had to play right back. This has also contributed to his problems.

What Valencia needs is a good run of games to get back to his former self. It seems that will be hard to come by with Nani and Ashley Young commanding the left and right flanks.

Valencia’s other parts of the game seem to be lacking also. His link up play is lacking, his crossing has been very below par. For a half an hour against Crystal Palace in the Carling Cup he showed tiny glimpses of this but still not near the Valencia we know.

It is clear that if Valencia does not start to show glimpses of the form of last season he will be spending his majority of time on the bench playing second fiddle to Nani.

With a tough schedule over the Christmas period the squad will be used in full flow and Valencia will get games but if he wants a consistent run in the team he needs to make big strides from the current level of performances he’s showing.

By Darren Hickey @DHick92

2 thoughts on “What Has Happened To Antonio Valencia?”

  1. What has happened to Utd??? After the very eraly season hoopla of youth, revamp,rebuilding blah blah blah , Utd are just about rubbish now,. Sadly, even more humiliation may await in FA Cup if City do field a strong team, which they might just do to kill off any ligering Utd hope of revival. SAF's sheer misjudgment in tranfers is a major cause of this debacle that now threatens, realistically, to leave season totally blank. Out of title defence, CL is about to end in Feb if not this week, FA Cup may also go in January…And oh, the Mickey Mouse Cup ? Ask the super-dud Evans and Co…If SAF seriously thought to navigate a long season ahead, with a very pwerful Man City emerging , with Tom Cleverley as the main midfield man, then we must safely take it that SAF is now officially finished. Against Villa he played 4 wingers at the same time at one point? Why buy Young , a winger of average quality, when you desperately need a proper midfielder? How scary is that for Utd fans to see Gibson on the bench? And Evans ? And Park???

  2. i think the problem is that due to nani and young's form he has been told that in order to get into the side he needs to be less one dimenesional and so has been cutting inside and linking up during his brief minutes on the pitch. he is lacking confidence in taking a man on but i think that is because he doesnt want to do it every time anymore – so i put it down to poor decison making. decison making has never been a factor in his game – he would get the ball and go past a man and then find a teammate. he did well against villa as an early sub as he clearly had been moaned at after the palace game. think we may be seeing the true valencia again, tbh i believe he could be the ideal centre midfielder for us at the minute – he can pass, he has drive, energy, can tackle, what hasnt he got to play there? cant play him and jones there as both have same attributes for that role imo. otherwise i think ideally for him he wants rooney as high up as possible and then nani and young filling the left side and other striker roles leavign valencia at right wing to tear teams apart again like his first season.

Comments are closed.