Antonio Valencia hasn’t exactly been on fire for Manchester United this season but it doesn’t seem to have effected him in the international breaks.
He was in action against Ecuador tonight and was in inspiring form out on the right-wing, claiming three assists in Ecuador’s friendly victory over El Salvador.
His first assist embodied everything that he hasn’t done at United this season. Quick feet, confidence to skip past two players and the intelligence to look up and put it on a plate for Caicedo who couldn’t miss. The second assist was great too with Valencia playing a neat one-two, sprinting through the defence before calmly squaring for Benitez to score.
Where has that Valencia been and who is the doppelganger at Old Trafford? Valencia has got five assists all season for Manchester United but he bagged three assists in 60 minutes for Ecuador.
Valencia admits that his standards have slipped this season and he has clearly been struggling with his injuries. No longer are Rafael and Valencia our most dangerous outlet, even if the Brazilian has been one of our best players of the season he has missed having Valencia there working with him.
In February, Valencia netted his only goal of the season so far against Portugal and his performance tonight certainly suggests he is ready to perform, even if it is only a friendly.
Maybe it is the mighty weight of the famous #7 shirt that is dragging him down and he feels more relaxed on international breaks but with the run-in about to kick in in full swing, Valencia needs to start finding this sort of form in the Premier League – sooner rather than later.