Antonio Valencia has been discussing the areas in which he can improve as he enters his ninth season at Manchester United.
The Ecuadorian enjoyed perhaps his best season yet during Jose Mourinho’s first campaign at Old Trafford and won the Player’s Player of the Year award last May.
And he has made an emphatic start to the new campaign, producing dedicated, disciplined performances with the armband against West Ham United, Swansea City and Leicester.
Speaking to Inside United, Valencia insisted that there was plenty to build upon over the next nine months on a personal level.
“There is always something to improve on and, this season, I will try to be better with my left foot,” he said.
“I will shoot more, try to do more with it and I hope, this year, I can achieve this. Overall, I just wish to be better and, God willing, things will go the right way for me and for the team.”
“There is an excitement about being back in the competition (the Champions League). I miss the Champions League song and the timing of the game, plus the whole environment and what it is like to play a Champions League match. We are back and we are hoping to do a good job.
“We hope we can win it. That is the objective. When you play in an important competition like that, you just want to win. Right now, we are taking it step by step, phase by phase. Hopefully we can achieve that.”
Don’t get me wrong, hearing from Valencia himself that he will attempt to use his left foot more – something he hasn’t really bothered with after a whole decade in England – is a wonderful thing, but there is something majestic about the way the Ecuadorian rampages down the right hand side in a strictly unidextrous fashion. It’s kind of like watching a tennis player dominating his opponent without even needing to pull out a single back-hand stroke.
That said, Valencia’s mentality towards always developing reveals exactly why Mourinho has entrusted him with a de facto captaincy role this season. A true warrior from head to toe.