Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia has revealed that he gave away the United No.7 shirt due to a superstition.
Valencia, who came to the club from Wigan Athletic in the summer of 2009, said that more than the huge expectations that come with being Manchester United’s No.7, a loss of form in the 2012-13 season led to a superstition that forced him to go back to his original squad number 25.
Valencia said: “It was more to do with the fact that 25 was the number I had when I first came to the club and I played well wearing that. So I thought ‘why don’t I go back to 25? I had good times and good fortune in that shirt.”
He added: “There is no negative reason as to why I changed. I don’t want people to think I wasn’t doing my job for the team because of any added pressure of wearing the No.7 shirt. I suppose I set the bar high in 2012, and then I had a niggling problem with my back, which didn’t allow me to train properly.
“There is no sign of that now. I feel great, and have been able to train to my maximum and put in 100 per cent. That has been paying dividends in games, and I feel my fortune has changed going back to the 25 shirt.”
Valencia had a stellar 2011-12 season which saw him grab the club’s player of the year award. Soon after, he was given the No.7 shirt which was worn at the time by the departing Michael Owen. Valencia’s performance dipped in the 2012-13 season which saw him score only a solitary goal. Manchester United’s No.7 shirt has been worn by some true Red Devils legends like George Best, Bryan Robson, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo and brings with it an added attention if not pressure.
Valencia’s performances this season though have been far better and the Ecuadorian will hope to continue that while Manchester United search for their next No.7.