Updated: Sunday, 24th March 2019 @ 6:39am

He deserves the No. 7! Gary Neville hails Antonio Valencia after Manchester United winger dons famous shirt

He deserves the No. 7! Gary Neville hails Antonio Valencia after Manchester United winger dons famous shirt

By Dean Wilkins

Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia deserves to wear the legendary No. 7 shirt, claims former Reds Gary Neville.

George Best, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo all donned the shirt, which is up for grabs after the departure of Michael Owen this summer.

And the 26-year-old Ecuadorian has asked to wear the shirt and fill the boots of many Old Trafford heroes.

"He’s been a fantastic signing for United and thoroughly deserves that No.7 shirt," Neville told the club’s official website.

"Having played with him for a year or two, I can tell you he’s a brilliant footballer, especially to play behind as a right-back. He does the right things at the right time, he works back to help out when you don’t have the ball, he delivers good crosses and he can beat a man.

"He’s a real handful to play against and I was really pleased to see him score a few more goals last season. That’s probably the only area of the game in which you’d like to see an improvement.

"He has a wonderful shot and he stays calm under pressure. I’d love to see him chip in with 10 or 15 goals this season – he’s more than capable of doing that."

Valencia signed for United in 2009 for around £16million after leaving Wigan Athletic to replace Ronaldo.

He has made 71 appearances for the Reds, netting ten times, despite strong competition on the flanks from Nani, Park Ji-Sung, Ashley Young and Ryan Giggs.

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