Angel di Maria is keen to follow in the footsteps of some of Manchester United’s greatest players in the no.7 shirt.
Man United fans were understandably excited after the Argentinian joined in a £59.7m deal this summer and his first couple of months at the club justified that feeling.
However, following an injury, Di Maria has gone off the boil at United and his red card against Arsenal on Monday was a low point for him but it hasn’t distracted him from his overall aims of becoming a hero at Old Trafford.
“I feel really good here and I’m genuinely happy to be wearing the No. 7 shirt,” Di Maria said.
“I know that some really great players have worn it in the past for Manchester United. Top, top players. I was really excited to wear that number, as it’s the one I wear for Argentina and things have always gone really well for me. That’s one reason I chose the number and also because so many great players have worn it before me.
“I hope that I can perform well and that the No. 7 shirt can keep its privileged place, high in the history of Manchester United.”
For a £59.7m signing, Di Maria hasn’t done enough to justify his price tag and he’ll be well aware of that. For a player of that price, you expect them to have a match winning influence in almost every game week but it just hasn’t happened consistently enough so far.
Following his petulant red card against Arsenal, Di Maria will sit out tomorrow’s game against Tottenham and looking ahead to the run-in, the Argentinian insisted United’s squad were all very prepared for the tough fixtures that are coming up.
“We are all aware that a number of big games are just around the corner for ourselves and the season will be decided by these fixtures,” he continued.
“We know all about these upcoming games and we have been thinking and talking about them for quite some time now.
“Since the time that the fixtures for the second half of the season came out, we’ve known that everything would be at stake over this final period.
“Everyone at the club is 100 percent confident, we know that we want to get back into the Champions League and that we want to be fighting it out.
“We will battle hard right to the end of the season. From what I know of the club, United always fight right to the end, and that’s what we’re going to do.
“I think that having so many new faces arriving and then playing in the first-team, it’s never easy for them to settle in immediately alongside the established players who have been here a while.
“It takes time for a team to really hit the heights. We’ve picked up some big results along the way, we’re near the top of the league and we shouldn’t be too downbeat because we’ve achieved quite a lot so far.”
Di Maria can talk the talk and earlier this season he walked the walk but with his confidence zapped and mental state compromised after a burglary at his house, he is a shadow of the player who was so dangerous previously.
The marquee signing of Di Maria was supposed to immediately bring a cutting edge to United this season and although it did at the start, like United’s performances this season, he has wavered.
That being said, he’ll be afforded patience as he is in a new foreign player in a transitional environment under van Gaal but fans are certainly expecting him to re-find his form between now and the end of the season.