An ode to Antonio Valencia

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by Regulus Arcturus Black, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. Jan 19, 2017
    #1

    Regulus Arcturus Black Banned

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    Great piece by Daniel Storey
    http://www.football365.com/news/an-ode-to-valencia-man-uniteds-mr-reliable

    [​IMG]



    Paying attention to the social media activity of footballers is a dreary pastime, but I’m prepared to make exception here. That tweet wasn’t penned by a Manchester United fan left gushing after a chance meeting with an all-time hero; it was written by Antonio Valencia, United’s current first-choice right-back and Giggs’ former teammate.

    You get the impression that Valencia is a man who lives in a permanent state of contentment. Gratitude is a difficult emotion to maintain as we become easily accustomed to our current bank balance or relationship status, yet Valencia exudes it. You can imagine him waking up, looking out of the window at the rain and remarking that it will be a wonderful day for ducks. But, and this is crucial, not in a smarmy, annoying, “Have a nice day!” way. The best kind of contentment is the contentment you keep to yourself.

    In March 2016, Manchester United’s official site ran a ‘15 things we’ve learned about Antonio Valencia’ feature. To nobody’s surprise, No. 1 on their list was ‘Valencia loves football’.

    “I love this job,” Valencia says. “When I was a boy, I loved it. All I thought about was playing and enjoying it. In the morning, I had to get up and go to school but then, in the afternoon, I would just be thinking about football.” That statement is as true of the man as it was of the boy.

    Having fallen slightly out of favour after the arrival of Matteo Darmian and a serious foot injury, Valencia is a key player once again. Alongside David de Gea, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba, he is one of four Manchester United players to start every league game for which he has been available. Ibrahimovic may have scored the goals and Paul Pogba taken the headlines, but it is Manchester United’s third longest-serving player who has been their most consistent.

    First used as a right-back at a time of injury crisis in September 2011, it was Louis van Gaal who can take the most credit for the transformation in position. Valencia played only 12 games in defence in five seasons under Ferguson, David Moyes and Ryan Giggs, but never played as a winger under Moyes’ permanent replacement.

    It is to nobody’s surprise that Valencia has found a keen enthusiast in Jose Mourinho. A winger-turned-full-back may appear to be the antithesis to Mourinho’s famed pragmatism, but it is harder to picture three characteristics that the Portuguese values higher in a player than speed, stamina and determination.

    At the middle of that Venn diagram stands Valencia. This was a player Ferguson glowingly described as having “a great tactical brain”, and whose speed former teammate Juan Carlos Burbano evocatively described when he said that “letting him pass you is like a jaguar running past a cactus”. “The boy’s got everything – balance, power, speed – and he’s strong as an ox,” Ferguson said. Apart from that, though…

    “I tried to sign Antonio a number of years ago, when I was at Madrid,” Mourinho told MUTV in November. “Even though he was not playing right-back at the time, I thought he could be phenomenal in that position. As it was, United told me ‘no chance”. I am not surprised by his form this season.”

    Even so, Valencia’s form this season has been astonishing. His crosses from open play are up from 3.7 per 90 minutes to 5.4, while his chances created statistics have also increased as his tackles per 90 minutes have decreased, Mourinho looking to break the shackles of Van Gaal’s unadventurous strategy. Alongside James Milner, another midfielder-turned-defender and worker bee extraordinaire in a 4-3-3 formation that demands plenty from the full-backs, Valencia has been one of the Premier League’s outstanding defenders this season.

    Next month Valencia will click over 200 Premier League appearances. He will turn 32 before the start of next season, but the new contract has already been signed. You will find no reasonable supporter who does not applaud the decision. By the end of 2017/18, it is likely that only four foreign players will have appeared more often in the Premier League for United.

    The only group happier to hear the news than Manchester United fans are Valencia’s teammates; it is impossible to envisage a player more popular with his peers. Michael Carrick describes him as “incredible” and Juan Mata as “a beast”, while Ander Herrera went one step further still in August: “I think that, right now, he is the best right-back in the world.”

    “I’m grateful for Ander’s kind words but what I try and do is to simply work hard every day in training,” was Valencia’s almost parodic response. He is the lottery winner who makes sure to put out the bins after collecting his winnings. If there is one thing that season ticket holders love more than superstardom, it is normality.

    Speaking in 2009 after being signed by Ferguson and for Manchester United, Antonio Valencia admitted his shock that such a great club had come calling, but was sure of the recipe for his success: “I’ll just do my job as I did it at Wigan, with the same trust in my ability. That’s what I do best.” Always has, always does, always will.
  2. Jan 19, 2017
    #2

    Womp idiot

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    Joined us a beast, broke his leg, returned and continued to be a beast, started to turn to shite, moved to RB and resumed being a beast. Valencia's career with us.
  3. Jan 19, 2017
    #3

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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    I remember the raised eyebrows on here when he was linked with Madrid but this is the first time I realised Mou was thinking of playing him as a full-back. Fascinating.
  4. Jan 19, 2017
    #4

    Regulus Arcturus Black Banned

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    I hadn't realised that either, no wonder he's in love with him here as a right back. He's been superb Valencia, there's barely a game goes by in which he doesn't own that entire side of the pitch.
  5. Jan 19, 2017
    #5

    Pexbo has never watched Star Wars

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    He'd have been a monster of a right back in a Real Madrid side with that much attacking power. The defensive duties would be minimal and Bale would be an excellent partner.
  6. Jan 19, 2017
    #6

    top1whoisman Meet the press(conference)

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    Two more seasons and he could have his testimonial. With his physique, it might just happen.
  7. Jan 19, 2017
    #7

    Tarrou Full Member

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    I'm pretty sure he'll stay a couple more years at least. Might not be first choice in a couple of years, but I wouldn't bet against it!
  8. Jan 19, 2017
    #8

    RedStarUnited Full Member

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    Going to sound like a hater but...

    I cant believe he has not learned to cross consistently in nearly 8 years with us.
  9. Jan 19, 2017
    #9

    Vault Dweller Full Member

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    I love Tony V to be honest, I think he has been outstanding this season. Physically he is a beast as other's have said. He can run all day, still supremely quick, strong as anything and is always an honest player. His tackle on Firminho at Liverpool earlier this season is the best I've seen this season, had goal written all over it until the Big Man intervened. Brilliant :D Emotionally, he's just as strong a player too. The broken leg against Rangers was horrific, and could easily have ended his playing career at the highest level. But he grafted as he always does, recovered and I have nowt but huge respect for him coming back from an injury like that and becoming such an important player for us.

    I love the point at the end of the article too about normality. For my part it is a value I love seeing in players, where they are good/great players but have always remained grounded and are grateful for all they have in their career. I think that description is very apt for Tony V, he never moans or has the hallmarks of a big ego, and appreciates everything in his career greatly. Makes me love the man even more :devil: So pleased for him that he's extended his deal. Carry on the great work Tony!!
  10. Jan 19, 2017
    #10

    faipdeooiad Full Member

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    Love mad tony. Seeing him burst past defenders is a treat. first minute or the end of the game, he motors past defenders.
  11. Jan 19, 2017
    #11

    bucky Full Member

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  12. Jan 19, 2017
    #12

    Regulus Arcturus Black Banned

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    Can?

    Is it even a question?
  13. Jan 19, 2017
    #13

    m1y2 Banned

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    gotta lav lav
  14. Jan 19, 2017
    #14

    Scholesy Banned

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    Valencia must be a manager's dream, brilliant team player too
  15. Jan 19, 2017
    #15

    Hawks2008 Full Member

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    Tony the Tank Engine :devil:
  16. Jan 19, 2017
    #16

    Randall Flagg Worst of the best

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    Without sounding like a kid, but if I had to name my favourite current player it would be Valencia. He has been a brilliant signing and even during his couple of seasons where he was not at his best. I always still felt he was a very useful player, on the wing or at full back


    I grew tired off defending him against his haters on here
  17. Jan 19, 2017
    #17

    clarkydaz Full Member

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    its great how he has survived and carved out a new position, but I have no expectation whatsoever when he bursts past an opposing fullback. Its so blatant I am actually at peace with it
  18. Jan 19, 2017
    #18

    anant Full Member

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    I used to hate him, wanted him sold, but no one has turned my opinion around the same way as Tony V has.
    Brilliant player, an asset for any club! Possibly the best RB in the league
  19. Jan 19, 2017
    #19

    TwoSheds More sheds (and tiles) than you, probably

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    Evra was worse at crossing. Both terrific fullbacks though.
  20. Jan 19, 2017
    #20

    ADJUDICATOR FULL MEMBER

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    :lol:
  21. Jan 19, 2017
    #21

    RikRuud Full Member

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    Clone him. Teach to use left foot. Play him on the left.
  22. Jan 19, 2017
    #22

    2 man midfield Incestuous Modern Woman (Dumper!)

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    Love it
  23. Jan 19, 2017
    #23

    2 man midfield Incestuous Modern Woman (Dumper!)

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    Tricky, but doable.

    Oh. Anyone got a plan b?
  24. Jan 19, 2017
    #24

    Isotope Full Member

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    Good article. If only Rooney could have half of Valencia's dedication to football, he'd be talked up there with CRonaldo's of this world.
  25. Jan 19, 2017
    #25

    izec Full Member

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    Love Tony Valencia. Hope he stays another 8 years
  26. Jan 19, 2017
    #26

    Successful Owes the Caf £25 (With interests)

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    I guess this thread finally received an answer.

    http://www.redcafe.net/threads/van-gaal-who-will-he-schweinsteiger.392148/

    Also adds another detail to our puzzle in this thread.

    http://www.redcafe.net/threads/lvgs-legacy-foundations.421163/
  27. Jan 19, 2017
    #27

    devips Full Member

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    It probably defines Valencia that he got rid of his agent about 4 years back. I am certain that he will end his playing career here.
  28. Jan 19, 2017
    #28

    zain Believe

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    Love his attitude and how consistent and reliable he has been for us over the years.

    I wish there was some way of finding out though, just how many times has he touched the ball with his left foot during his time with us. Would be fascinating to know that sort of statistic.
  29. Jan 19, 2017
    #29

    Mike09 Banned

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    He's still underrated as a right back. Not many people apart from United fans think he can, probably because lack of attention such as United is still in 6th position, him not being a natural right back before, lack of assists. Surprisingly Azpillicueta who spent most of his PL career played as a left back and played centre back this season actually in a pundit's best XI right back (half of the season).
  30. Jan 19, 2017
    #30

    LuisNaniencia Sky Sports called my bluff

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    He's put in a few decent crosses with the left foot this season.
  31. Jan 19, 2017
    #31

    Wumminator The Special One!

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    I absolutely adore how one footed he is. It always makes me laugh.
  32. Jan 19, 2017
    #32

    Dir Wangem Banned

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    It definitely makes him relatable:lol:

    Feck learning how to use the other foot!
  33. Jan 19, 2017
    #33

    Drz Full Member

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    Though he rarely uses it (probably thinks it is demeaning or something), he has the most precise passing with his left foot for a right back. Oddly I have found myself really willing the team to score when he successfully pulls off a left footed past. I think I've seen him pass 5 times with his left since he joined us, and they all reached their target.
    More seriously, love his work ethic. And find it stunning our attackers don't know how to position themselves in the box when Valencia has the ball on the right, you always know where he is going to put it depending on where he is. Consistent, persistent beast of a player.
  34. Jan 19, 2017
    #34

    Drz Full Member

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    Brilliant!
  35. Jan 19, 2017
    #35

    redshaw Full Member

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    Always liked him, he's one of Fergie's trusted players and it was easy to see when he came back we went up a notch or two.
  36. Jan 19, 2017
    #36

    Cutch Shit stirrer (Literally)

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    Yep love that about him. Clearly in it for the love of the game
  37. Jan 19, 2017
    #37

    NoLogo Full Member

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    Thought he was done. Reinvented himself as a right fullback and for me he by now looks like one of the best in the league now. I love that our Tony V is back.
  38. Jan 20, 2017
    #38

    surf Full Member

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    The "four foreign players" in the article are Schmeichel, Evra, Solskjaer and Silvestre. Not bad company.
  39. Jan 20, 2017
    #39

    antohan gets aroused by tagline boobs

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    That article misses some even more telling tweets.

    On 16 July (after being given the armband): In this day I fulfilled one of my dreams. I will continue working. This is just the beginning.

    On 1 August: it doesn't matter how many times you fall, what's important is to get back up every time and keep at it.

    On 8 August: Don't worry if you fall, only those who stand up can fall. Those who have never fallen have probably spent their entire lives crawling.

    That's TonyV in a nutshell.
  40. Jan 20, 2017
    #40

    LLMU Full Member

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    The man who almost never smile in photos but this season i hv seen more pictures of him smiling. He is not just a right back at this moment. He basically has to run the whole right hand side of the pitch for us this season.