Ashley Young’s eight and a half year stay at Old Trafford abruptly ended in January when he signed for Inter Milan following in the footsteps of ex-Reds Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez by heading to Italy in an attempt to rejuvenate his career. It would be an understatement to say that Ashley Young completely lost the plot at United although through no fault of his own as the once attacking Winger who always provided goals and assists was converted to a full-back by the likes of Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho and suddenly he looked out of his depth in his new role.
Young was thrust into the first team this season after Luke Shaw was injured and with no backup left-back at the time, Young was played week-in week-out and United’s form was atrocious with him playing. The former captain was noticeably poor at the back but this time around wasn’t that good going forward either as he failed to create chances (only 2 in the entire season) and he kept on aimlessly putting crosses into the box with no players to feed off on them. At that time our designated corner-taker, he was slowly replaced by Fred as he consistently failed to find United’s players notably Harry Maguire who was bought for his aerial prowess. After a string of poor performances, Brandon Williams replaced him at the full-back position after impressing initially in the campaign.
After Luke Shaw’s return to fitness, there was to be no place for Ashley Young in the squad and the ex-Captain moved to Italy after a long stay at Old Trafford.
WHAT WENT WRONG AND WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD??
It needs to be said – Ashley Young is not a defensive player. He simply cannot defend. Antonio Conte realises that and thus he plays him in a system where his only job is to attack and sometimes track back and that has paid its dividends with him scoring 4 and assisting 5 since him joining the Nerazzuri.
Young again was abysmal this season as his defensive frailties were repeatedly highlighted be it the left-back or right-back position. His crossing at times was atrocious and it really looked like he may be finished at the top-level of football. Having joined from Watford, Young initially impressed a lot with his best performance coming in the 8 – 2 dismantling of Arsenal at Old Trafford where he scored 2 amazing goals and also assisted one. But ever since he was converted to a full back, his carrer has gone off a cliff. And I personally don’t think Young was at fault for that. He just wasn’t played in his preferred position. Also with injuries to key players early in the season derailing our campaign, Young was made the scapegoat for his bad performances on the pitch as the entire team looked lost with no real leadership in the squad.
With him now 35 years old, he only has one or probably two years left in the top-flight of football. After a bright start at The Theatre Of Dreams, he will now probably only be remembered for him being criticised for his poor peformances and consistently being made the scapegoat for any bad result. A shame for once such a fine footballer…