Ashley Young delivered one of his best performances of the season during Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Liverpool on Saturday.
The 32-year-old battled diligently all game, circulating the ball with authority and expertly tracking the dangerous Mohamed Salah, who hardly had a sniff for the entire afternoon.
His numbers from the game tell the story of what was a truly comprehensive big game performance from the Englishman.
Ashley Young’s game by numbers vs. Liverpool:
1 key pass
20 passes completed
100% tackles won
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) March 10, 2018
Many have questioned why Mourinho has persisted with starting Young over Luke Shaw, described as one of the best left-backs in the Premier League by the boss in January, and in games where United’s momentum going forward is practically non-existence that frustration is justified.
But in games of this nature, where everything – every tackle, every pass, every shout from the crowd – feels more pronounced, more pressurised, then a player of Young’s in-game mindfulness is invaluable.
Along with Antonio Valencia, he is one of the players from the Sir Alex Ferguson era to have that big game ethic – an almost heuristic understanding of how to manage these situations. He stuck to Salah like a limpet and ensured his energy levels, along with the rest of back four, never dropped.
This was always going to be a game of fine margins, and while it was a 20-year-old whose goals won the game, experience prevailed once again.