It was thought that, prior to Man United’s draw with Burnley, Valencia would be sidelined for six weeks after undergoing arm surgery.
However, just three weeks later, Valencia made a surprise return against Arsenal and produced a sensational performance at right back.
Neville, speaking after the game, hailed Valencia as United’s finest player.
“I’m not going to let the Arsenal goal change my mind on that. He’s been the best Manchester United player.”
You’d think that, following surgery on a broken arm, one would be a bit tentative on their return to action. Not Valencia.
Indeed, the Ecuadorian was simply unstoppable. Sheer power, energy and reliability is implicit in everything he does, both when defending and bursting forward. His importance to the side cannot be overstated. Mourinho’s men, with Valencia on the right hand side, were composed, hard-working and unyielding in their management of the game, posing a constant threat against Arsene Wenger’s side.
United fans will be delighted to see the Ecuadorian – such a fundamental aspect of Mourinho’s system – back in action already.