Ashley Young has been rewarded for his sensational performance at right back during Manchester United’s 3-0 win over FC Basel with a place in WhoScored’s Champions League ‘Team of the Week’.
The Englishman hadn’t featured under Jose Mourinho since United’s 1-0 win over Celta Vigo over four months ago, picking up a groin injury that required surgery, but was given a chance to feature on the right flank as Jose Mourinho rested Antonio Valencia and fielded an entirely different back four to the one that floundered at Stoke City over the weekend.
Young’s inclusion prompted a few murmurs of concern, but there were no signs of rustiness in his performance whatsoever. The veteran was an assured, ebullient presence, surging forward with purpose and close control from minute one. His shrewd handling of the ball and fluid turns provided a less predictable dynamic than Valencia at times – most notably for Marouane Fellaini’s goal, which came following a smart piece of movement followed by an inch-perfect cross that the Belgian crashed home after 36 minutes.
Defensively, the 32-year-old oozed a sense of discipline and control, positioning himself smartly and keeping Basel largely quiet down their left hand side with a series of well-timed blocks and tackle. Jose Mourinho wants to keep him until 2019 and you can see why: there aren’t many players with the same kind of indefatigable work ethic every time they are called upon.
And Young was duly handed a place alongside John Stones, Sergio Ramos and Rafinha at the back in WhoScored’s ‘Team of the Week’ for match-day one of this season’s Champions League.