Jose Mourinho has hailed Ashley Young‘s progress at left back this season following the Englishman’s superb display during Manchester United’s 4-2 win over Watford on Tuesday night.
Young only made 12 Premier League appearances last season but has been an indispensable figure for Mourinho ever since recovering from injury in September, starting all ten of Man United’s last league games.
And he produced a dazzling display against Watford, rifling home a near post drive to put United ahead before curling a perfect free-kick past Heurelho Gomes minutes later.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho was quick to heap praise on the way Young has developed into a solid left-back.
“He’s playing well,” he said.
“I know what he can do for us, all the positions where he can be useful for us but this left-back position I think has adapted to him and probably in this stage of his career where he has the maturity and the tactical experience.
“It’s good, so he’s playing really well.”
English players capable of mastering the technical and physical requirements of playing as a wing-back are in short supply to say the least, but the 32-year-old has done what the best professionals do throughout their careers: evolve.
Young certainly didn’t start out as a wing-back, that’s for sure. He now configures in a line-up almost completely different from the one he starred in five years ago, and his shrewd switch to a role requiring greater discipline and energy has kept his career alive.
And supporters will just hope that, while a proper left-back is still needed, they can see Young performing at the same level for the next couple of years.