Antonio Valencia‘s return to form has been a fantastic sight for Manchester United fans after his dismal 2012/13 campaign and Sir Alex Ferguson believes it is at least in part due to his decision to relinquish the #7 shirt.
Valencia earned the #7 shirt for his exploits in the 2011/12 season and fully deserved it but instead of embracing it, the pressures of the shirt hindered the Ecuadorian.
Legends like Beckham, Ronaldo, Robson, Best and Cantona have all left their own #7 legacies behind and the extra pressure of living up to them seemed to effect Valencia on the pitch.
He handed the shirt back to United and reverted to his original #25 at the start of the season and judging by his performance against Bayer Leverkusen, it was the right move to make.
“He changed the number of his jersey again. It’s amazing how it can affect a player.
“Maybe it was a great thing for him to do that, to use his initiative to go back to No.25. He was fantastic.”
It was certainly a brave decision by Valencia to hand his shirt back. Many players would have been stubborn and stuck with it even if they knew it wasn’t helping them, so for Valencia to bite the bullet and give it back is a testament to his character.
Under David Moyes, Valencia has really begun to show his old self – unafraid to take defenders on and unable to be stopped by them because of his sheer strength and pace. There aren’t many wingers like Valencia in the Premier League and two seasons ago, he was our go to guy when it came to chance creation.
Sometimes the small details can make all the difference. He may not become the latest United player to make himself a legend wearing the #7 shirt but so long as he keeps playing how he did on Tuesday, it doesn’t matter what number he dons on his back.