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Reports: Manchester United defender Antonio Valencia set for early return

Showing the kind of bravery Mourinho has been beseeching his players to show, Valencia may force himself into contention for theArsenal game

FEATURED COLUMNIST
News 13 Nov 2016, 21:14 IST
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Valencia, in typical full blooded action, against Manchester City

Having undergone surgery on his broken arm on October 27, Antonio Valencia could be on track for a miraculous return to action for the crunch clash with Arsenal on November 19, reports suggest. Three weeks is an insanely fast recovery time for such a serious injury. 

Having broken his arm in an ungainly fall during the intense Manchester Derby in the EFL Cup, many United fans feared that Valencia would be out for a considerable period of time – maybe even a couple of months. 

However, the 31-year old powerhouse appears to have recovered in record time, and this would please his manager like little else. 

Jose Mourinho was left bemoaning the players' attitudes the other day when he complained about certain players (Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling) not wanting to push through pain, (and pushing themselves harder) to play for their team.

This perceived lack of 'bravery' had got the 'Special One's' goat -

"I have a friend who is a big tennis player and he tells me when he remembered more the times he plays with pain than the times he plays without pain. To compete, you have to go to the limit. It is cultural for some -- and this is not my culture. More than me, it is Man United," Mourinho was quoted as saying by the BBC."We have players with 'problems'. At every sport - and I know because I have friends in others sports and they play at the highest level in their sport, and how many times they play when you are not 100 percent."

Read Also –  Luke Shaw baffled by Jose Mourinho's comments after Swansea game

The drive and commitment shown by Valencia will endear him even further to his manager. Already a firm favourite of Mourinho, the Ecuadorian has already played nine times for United this season – and is seemingly the first name on the teamsheet every single time he's available for selection. 

Valencia was signed from Wigan Athletic as a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo – even getting the no. 7 shirt for his first year. His total commitment to the team and willingness to run-all-day endeared him to Sir Alex Ferguson as well as all his successors. Evolving from flying winger to the right-back he is today, he's shown remarkable persistence to keep his place in the starting eleven. 

United, who are struggling for defenders with Bailly, Smalling and Shaw all fighting of injuries of varying degrees of seriousness (and Phil Jones having just come back from injury), will be pleased to hear this bit of news and will be hoping to name Valencia at least on the bench for the always-fiery encounter with Arsenal.


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