Ashley Young has made it clear that he never considered leaving Manchester United last season despite struggling for minutes under Jose Mourinho.
The Englishman only made 12 Premier League appearances for Man United last season and various reports suggested that Stoke City, Istanbul Basaksehir and various Chinese Super League sides were keen on securing his services.
But Young chose to remain at Old Trafford and has been an integral aspect of Jose Mourinho’s set-up, starting nine of the 13 games played since he returned from a groin injury against FC Basel and receiving a call up for England in the process.
And Young, speaking earlier this week, noted that he never gave up on his prospects for club and country.
“I think there did come a point last season where I wasn’t in the squad, wasn’t even making the 18,” he said. “It was disappointing, but I have never thought about leaving the club.”
“I’ve always got that determination, to get back in the squad and get back playing.
“I’ve spoken to all three managers at times when there was difficult periods, but I have got confidence in myself, confidence in my ability get back in the squad and get back into the team.”
“I’ve showed I deserve to be in the [England] squad,” he added. “But it’s not just that, it’s being in the team. I want to play every game.”
“The World Cup is a long way away, but every England player wants to be in the World Cup. I never once shut the door on England or thought the door was shut on myself. When you have the chance to represent your country it’s an honour to pull on an England shirt.
“That’s why I will never retire until my legs tell me I can’t run any more. I’m delighted to be back.”
There is a tendency amongst the younger generation to jump to quick conclusions, to find the quickest solution possible. The modern world doesn’t want you to wait for anything; nor does it want you to believe that waiting is an option anymore.
And this is why Young’s maturer stance – a more measured, calculated way of seeing the world and, by extension, the football pitch – can be so valuable to both Mourinho and Gareth Southgate. Finding an English player with such natural fluidity and versatility is rare these days, with young talents growingly encouraged to pick a specific role.
In this sense, Young is something of a collector’s item, and supporters will hope he remains an option under Mourinho for some time.