Ashley Young shines in Manchester United return against FC Basel

by Harry Robinson

Ashley Young produced a captain’s performance for Manchester United in Tuesday night’s UEFA Champions League victory against FC Basel.

The Englishman started his first game for Man United since May, the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg against Celta Vigo.

Playing at right-back, Young took the captain’s armband from Paul Pogba, who departed the field in the 19th-minute due to a hamstring tweak.

The 32-year-old assisted United’s opening goal with a fantastic cross for Marouane Fellaini and his numbers from Tuesday’s game demonstrate his value to the Reds at the back and going forward.

Young returned for the under-23s back in August and, unlike Luke Shaw who played once more for Ricky Sbragia’s side on Friday, he was brought straight back into the first team.

His style of play is hardly unique, but in games where the opposition sit back as FC Basel did, Young is presented with enough opportunities to try his trademark accelerate and cross that it comes off at least once or twice.

At 32 now, Young’s pace hasn’t diminished and he remains a useful squad player, the kind who is essential in seasons like United are hoping to have under Mourinho.

Last year saw runs for the Reds in both domestic cups as well as the Europa League, and United will be hoping for something similar this campaign, though with the Champions League instead.

Players like Young are needed despite lacking the quality of their teammates at times, and he put in a good performance wearing the armband on Tuesday night in his 165th game for the club.

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