Manchester United’s most reliable players of the 2017/18 season so far…

Over the years football has seen some remarkable players take on the iconic red Manchester United shirt. Today the United squad remains full of superstars, battling to get a coveted spot in Manchester United’s world-class team under José Mourinho. Given the fairly frequent changes of manager over the past few years and the disquiet caused by it, there have been changes and transfers that have somewhat disrupted the team.

However, it seems that Mourinho has brought more stability and security to the squad and now has a clearer idea over who his strongest XI is. Since taking over as manager in 2016 José Mourinho has made several changes to his Manchester United squad. With competition to even get in the team fiercer than ever, players need to paint themselves as talented, skillful and most importantly reliable to Mourinho.

No one can doubt the talent and skill in the squad, but who are the most reliable Manchester United players?

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David De Gea

The young Spanish goalkeeper’s talents are unrivaled, with many now labeling him as the best keeper in the world. Indeed there have been many occasions when he has rescued a win or draw for United with a terrific world-class save with either his hands or feet or even both. The 26-year-old has clocked up over 2,100 minutes on the pitch in the Premier League this season and a further 360 minutes in the Champions League.

Though De Gea faces tough competition for his spot from both Argentina’s number one Sergio Romero and young Portuguese keeper Joel Pereira, Mourinho clearly has trust in him with his statistics highlighting how reliable he has been for United across all competitions and how much trust and confidence the manager places in him. Indeed with 14 clean sheets and 80 saves in the league this season, it is hard to argue that De Gea has had a bad game since the season started back in August.

Fans and even players can rest on the knowledge that if (unfortunately) the ball makes it through the defense they have a world class keeper there to obstruct it and to save the day for United once again.

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Ashley Young

In the summer it did seem as though Ashley Young could be on his way out of United, with rumours circulating, which suggested he could make a return to Watford. However, since then Young has become and invaluable part of Mourinho’s squad, even captaining the team on a few occasions. Ashley Young’s appeal lies in the fact that he can seemingly play literally anywhere in defence. At United he’s played on the left, on the right, as a full-back and as a wing-back and has done a respectable job in all these positions, appearing for over 1,500 minutes in the league this season.

Not only can Young do an impressive job in defense (with a tackle success rate of 69% in the league) but he can also perform some attacking duties, scoring two excellent goals against Watford and providing a further three assists.  Ashley Young’s statistics highlight how the 32-year-old (who was recently included in the England squad again) steps up when given the chance. His reliability and usefulness for United lies in his versatility and his ability to slot into a United team wherever and whenever needed.

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Nemanja Matić

When Manchester United signed Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matić, fresh off the back of a Premier League win with Chelsea, in the summer many were completely shocked. Not by the fact that Mourinho had pulled off the deal or the fact that Matić picked United over staying with the reigning Premier League Champions, but by the fact that Chelsea actually let Matić go. He was an integral part of Chelsea’s league-winning squad and since joining United he has become a vital part of United’s team too.

Whether it be his Paul Scholes-style long balls or his fruitful midfield partnership with Paul Pogba, already there is something that United fans love about him. José Mourinho clearly loves many things about the 29-year-old too, after signing him for a fee of around £40 million and playing him for over 2,120 minutes in the league and nearly 400 minutes in the Champions League. Matić has put in a good shift across all competitions this season, winning over 120 duels in the league, highlighting the important job he does in protecting the United defense.

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Antonio Valencia

In the absence of Club Captain Michael Carrick, Antonio Valencia has taken the armband on multiple occasions and led the reds. He has many admirable qualities, as United’s first choice right-back, with his strength and speed making him stand out as a top player. José Mourinho even claimed he was the best ‘right-back’ in the world, a claim that was supported and compounded by fans and pundits alike.

As well as his impressive attacking statistics (three goals in the league this season) and his incredible defensive capabilities (12 Premier League clean sheets in 20 league appearances this season) Valencia has proved himself to be reliable, appearing for over 1,900 minutes across the League and Champions League. Fans can rely on the fact that Valencia can do both a respectable defensive shift and then drive forwards down the right-wing when required.

He is undoubtedly an excellent Captain, as both Mourinho and the fans can rely on Valencia’s experience and knowledge when leading the team.


The United team is full of superstars and big names but significantly includes several reliable players. This is undoubtedly important for a team like United. As they compete in multiple competitions, fans and the manager must trust the fact that there are several skilled, experienced and most importantly reliable players, some ever-presents and some slotting in wherever they can, who are all ready to step up and perform for Manchester United when called upon.

Written by Ciara Garcha


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