Antonio Valencia to be the next captain of Manchester United?
Manchester United played out a draw against Club America in their first pre-season fixture of 2018/19. In the post-match press conference, Jose Mourinho signaled that Antonio Valencia would retain the captain's armband for the ongoing season.
In case if you don't know:
Manchester United appointed Michael Carrick as captain for 2017/18 season following the departure of Wayne Rooney to Everton. Carrick was ruled out for four months due to an irregular heart rhythm ailment and could captain the team for just two matches. The club handed the armband to the vice-captain of the Red Devils, Antonio Valencia. In Carrick's absence, Valencia led the side 39 times and helped the team to finish the league in top four for the first time in five seasons.
What did Mourinho say at the press conference?
Following a draw in the America tour of Manchester United, Mourinho said: "The captain was Valencia last season, I think he's going to be the captain, And when he doesn't play we have to make decisions."
He also gave his opinion about the other options for captaincy if the Ecuadorian-international misses out. "Depends on who is on the pitch, if (Chris) Smalling is, if Ashley Young is, if (Ander) Herrera is or (Juan) Mata is, if they are on the pitch they have an option." During the conference, Mourinho ruled out Paul Pogba as a captaincy option for the Old Trafford based outfit. Recently, Pogba won the World Cup with France in Russia.
Mourinho also had something to say about Nemanja Matic:" I think a guy like [Nemanja] Matic has all the attributes to be Manchester United captain but of course he arrived only one year ago".
Premier League: Valencia captained the side 31 times. He registered 21 wins and seven losses.
Champions League: The Champions League was not a successful campaign for the Ecuadorian international. He could win in 2 matches(out f 4) before getting knocked out by Sevilla in the round of 16.
FA Cup: Valencia missed several matches for the club due to the hamstring injury.In the latter stages of the tournament, he registered two victories in 3 games where the loss came in the FA Cup final against Chelsea.
Number of Matches in which Valencia captained the side=39
What does this infer to Antonio Valencia?
Antonio Valencia arrived at Old Trafford from Wigan Athletic in 2009. Till date, Valencia has appeared 330 times for the Red Devils across all competitions. In 2017/18, Valencia kept 14 clean sheets and scored three goals in his 31 Premier League appearances.
Although the news is not confirmed, the news comes as a boost for the 32-year-old player. Recently, Manchester United signed Diogo Dalot from FC Porto and the teenager was seen as a competitor for the right-back spot. But Mourinho's statement will be a sigh of relief for Valencia as the manager has no intention to drop the full-back any time soon.
Antonio Valencia has been guaranteed a place in the starting-XI for the first game of the season against Leicester City. Manchester United will face San Jose Earthquakes on July 22. Alexis Sanchez missed the first club friendly match but is expected to feature in the second match as a striker.