Gary Neville has hailed Ashley Young‘s “determination and character” and believes the 33-year-old deserves more credit from Manchester United supporters.
Young has enjoyed a remarkable resurgence over the last 12 months, securing a starting role in Jose Mourinho’s starting XI and earning a place in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad.
He performed diligently and tenaciously in Russia, looking assured in a left-wing back role alongside impressing from set-pieces, claiming two assists from corners.
Speaking to ESPN‘s Andy Mitten, Neville was quick to sing the praises of Young following an impressive World Cup.
“You have to remember that he’s from good stock,” he says.
“If Sir Alex Ferguson signed you, then nine times out of 10 he got it right when it came to character. When you watch Ashley Young play, when you see him digging in, you see a determination and a character.
“You can see Jose Mourinho and Gareth Southgate using him for these reasons. He might not be everybody’s perfect player, but he’s had a really good tournament and he’ll never let you down because you know exactly what you are going to get from him.”
There is without doubt a certain nous to Young’s persona on the pitch that has appealed to Mourinho and Southgate alike. He is a dogged fighter, somebody unafraid of the big stage and capable of carrying out a variety of tactical instructions. That he has gone from a winger on the fringes at Old Trafford to first choice full-back for club and country is a testament to his character above anything.
And he will be important for Man United next season – especially against the top four. That said, Mourinho, as he did last season, would be foolish to rely solely on Young, now 33, for the entire season. Somebody needs to share the load.
Whether that comes in the form of a new signing or Luke Shaw remains to be seen.