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Valencia ain't no Ronaldo!!

Siddarth Monday, September 13, 2010
Most fans really didn’t expect much from Antonio Valencia when he joined United. The tag Of ‘Ronaldo’s replacement’ put extra pressure on him much to his amusement and of many others, as he and Ronaldo were two totally different wingers and as usual some in the media expected Valencia to flop completely!

Much to their chagrin, Valencia settled in almost immediately, proving that although he may not be Cristiano Ronaldo, he was still a handful down the right wing as well as forming a great understanding with Wayne Rooney assisting most of Rooney’s headed goals last season with immaculate crossing, the kind that had not been seen at Old Trafford since Beckham left the club.

Valencia is pretty much an out and out winger; he sticks to the right side of midfield and constantly runs at the opposition left back. Also occasionally making runs inwards off the last defender and using his pace to get one on one with the GK, Valencia is basically a classic Winger. Given a bit of space, Valencia can whip in brilliant crosses, very difficult for any defender to manage and if he’s given enough space and time to cross, the opposition will most likely regret it. Valencia had one facet to his game that Ronaldo most certainly didn’t have, a great work ethic defensively, he can regularly be seen helping out in defense when possible and this is something that endeared him to the fans even more.

Valencia statistics for his first season at united speak for themselves, he started in 29 premiership games and made 5 sub appearances, he scored 5 goals and provided 7 assists. Also in the Champions League he made 6 starts and 2 sub appearances, going on score 2 goals and create 3 more. Valencia put in a great shift in the first half of the season, playing in almost every game till January, and alongside Rooney, was our best player in the team.

By the end of the 2009/10 season, Valencia did seem to run out of steam, it was expected given that he had played almost continuous football for the first half of the season, and put in several great performances over the season, and also due of an ankle injury that required surgery during the summer.

Valencia might not be Cristiano Ronaldo but his performances as a right winger has ensured that we’ll be missing Cristiano Ronaldo that little bit less. The Ecuadorian should be vital to United’s domestic and European crusades this season and hopefully Valencia can perform an encore of last season’s form.


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