Updated: Friday, 29th May 2020 @ 6:20am

Manchester United's sensational Player of the Year Antonio Valencia 'has it all', claims Ashley Young and Sir Alex

Manchester United's sensational Player of the Year Antonio Valencia 'has it all', claims Ashley Young and Sir Alex

By Dean Wilkins

Filling the boots of the world’s best player and donning Manchester United’s iconic No. 7 shirt is a challenge readily accepted by Antonio Valencia – a challenge that has earned him the applause from his teammates and manager.

The £80million departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid in 2009 left a daunting hole on the Reds’ right flank – but just as the Portuguese star was brought in to replace David Beckham in 2003, Sir Alex Ferguson worked his magic again.

Valencia was signed from Wigan Athletic for a fee around £15million and his electric pace, deadly square passing ability and potent strike soon earned him a regular place in the United first team and had fans asking Ronnie who?

And despite having to compete against new-boy Shinji Kagawa, Nani and Ashely Young for a place on the wing, Valencia earned praise from the England international for his pivotal role.

"Last season he had everything,” Young said.

"He attacks, he defends, he can shoot, he can cross, he can pass. He has it all and that's why he scooped up everything at the end-of-season awards. It's why the players voted for him and it's why the fans voted for him.”

Valencia was awarded Manchester United’s Player of the Year and Goal of the Season, as well as the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year.

"He's fantastic to play with,” Young added. “Antonio, like every other player, knows how to look after himself as well – he knows what to eat, what to drink and he works closely with our fitness coaches."

And Valencia, who will face his former side Wigan in a North West derby at Old Trafford this Saturday, also earned praise from his Fergie.

"Antonio is always very professional and a great human being,” the Scot said. “I'm very happy with him.

"He’s one of those players who is constantly maturing. Without doubt, his best position is wide right – he’s fantastic there."

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.