Antonio Valencia

Antonio Valencia
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Antonio Valencia

Current Club: Manchester United.
Previous Clubs: Wigan Athletic, Villareal, CD El Nacional.
Loan Clubs: Recreativo Huelva, Wigan Athletic.

International: Ecuador 89 caps 10 goal.

Valencia has never been a subtle player, he has always been about charging down the right flank and whipping a cross in. Usually a dangerous cross too. Despite being a very simplistic style, with his power, pace and energy, it has always been very difficult to stop. At least until injuries cost him the ability to put in a decent cross, as he struggled to adapt after an ankle op left one leg longer than it had been previously, unbalancing him. For a while, he became the target of discontent at Man Utd, as it was clear he was struggling badly, despite taking a number of measures to try and cure the problem.

However, since then, he has learnt how to cope with the changes to his body and been moved back a position to play as an attacking full back (or wing back). At right back, he still has freedom to charge forward down the flank and whip early balls in, but it means he tends to face a wide midfielder, rather than a defender, often that gives him more space and time. It also allows his tendency to track back to be used to the fullest, without it detracting from his attacking work, as it could do sometimes as a winger.

At the start of last season, Valencia was arguably in the form of his life and the best right back in the Premier League, though his form did fade a little as the season went on. While he is not a natural defender, his willingness to learn has shown in a major improvement in his positional sense and thought processes. Valencia will never be the world class player fans crave every time the club enters the transfer window, but he is an excellent professional, who puts his all into every game and never lets anyone down.

It was unfortunate that he was brought in when Cristiano Ronaldo left for Real Madrid, as it was an impossible task to replace the Portugese star, and Valencia was certainly never going to be a like-for-like replacement. However, he has been an excellent servant for the club, one of those players that every team needs, that is a team player and does a good job each and every time he is on the pitch.