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AV 25 vs AV 7

714   //    12 Mar 2013, 20:21 IST

The man who played a crucial role for Manchester United throughout the season last year, yes you’re guessing it right. I’m speaking about Antonio Valencia. Questions have been raised if Valencia is the same mighty winger this season? Has he played a crucial role for Manchester United this season? Is the iconic no.7 jersey worth it?

The no.7 jersey wore by well known legends of Red Devils. Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham, Eric Cantona, George Best and the list goes on. Can Valencia be compared to the former legends of Man Utd? Manchester United may have ended last season empty handed, but for Antonio Valencia there was a small personal triumph with which to console himself. The Winger who cost Man Utd £16 million when moved to Old Trafford from Wigan Athletic proved himself that he was worth it. The former Liverpool legend Michael Owen who was the owner of No.7 jersey last season, whose contract was not renewed by Man Utd at the end of last season, left the No.7 jersey with no owner to conquer. The Japanese international Shinji Kagawa who signed United was offered to take over the prestigious number 7 jersey.

‘I’ve just joined the team and haven’t accomplished anything yet,’ said Kagawa. ‘I want to make a name for myself [at United] on my own terms.’

Again the no.7 jersey was left with no owner to take over with Kagawa turning down the offer. The Ecuador winger stepped in to take over the no.7 jersey and was completely aware of the responsibilities and the pressure that would be on his back by wearing mythical number 7 jersey.

‘It means a lot. When I arrived at United I was already aware of exactly what the No 7 shirt stood for here, because we all know that many legendary players have passed through the club and worn that shirt. It’s a shirt that needs to be worn by a player who is maybe that little bit different – individuals if you like. That’s how I see it anyway.’ He said when he decided to take over the no.7 jersey.

The Manchester United’s former number 25 was completely aware of his responsibilities. But has he lived up to the expectations of his manager and the Red Devil fans?

Valencia has made 21 appearances this season and assisted only 5 times and has not netted any goals. He has let down his fans by his consistent bad performance. The same winger who had made 32 appearances and had scored 6 times and assisted 15 times, his performance played a key role in Manchester United last season. Valencia had great expectations of the fans to carry on his back this season but failed to execute any of the expectations.

How can he recover?

The table leaders have been a goal scoring sensation this season. Valencia can take this as an added advantage and try to assist more and more goals. Manchester United is going through a problem about wingers this season. The Portugal international, Nani with lack of good performance in the beginning of the season and injuries has not filled the mighty midfield of the Red Devils. On the other hand, Ashley Young has been ruled out due to injuries. Valencia can take this opportunity and prove himself that he is still worth the number 7 jersey. Valencia has been fast this season but his speed has not been productive. His fast dribbling makes the midfielder all the more tactical and he can use these skills trying to assist more goals and play a key role in the squad.

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