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Rafa Benitez wants Ashley Young at Newcastle

Ashley Young is one of the longest-serving players left at Manchester United, joining in 2011 and going on to make 164 appearances for the club. Due to his connection with the fans and his excellent performance under Louis van Gaal when United needed to qualify for the Champions League, Young is regarded very highly at Manchester United.

However, last season, Young only made 23 appearances for Manchester United in all competitions, playing 1,439 minutes in the process. Combine this with the fact he’s been used solely as a fullback or wingback due to Manchester United’s quality in-depth in his preferred left-wing position. While he offers the natural wide threat that United have sought after in the market, he failed to impress moving forward as a fullback, with his main strength being defensive solidity.

Of every player in Manchester United’s squad above the age of 23, Young is almost certain to play the fewest minutes of everyone next season, with even more players to join the club and current players who need more playing time to develop into their mid-20’s. While Mourinho seems content with keeping Young on the books, and he’s hardly a disaster to have on the pitch, United could benefit with more places for youth, and Young could play a much more significant role at a different club.

One of those clubs could be Newcastle, as Rafa Benitez has reportedly registered interest on bringing Young to Manchester United. Newcastle’s wide ranks aren’t littered with quality that has been proven in the Premier League, and an above-average fullback is always useful for a club adjusting to the Premier League.

While the original article from HITC doesn’t highlight Young’s strengths very accurately, it correctly states that Benitez has always built deep squads and Young’s signing could be significant for Newcastle. Young, a pacey winger with excellent delivery with his right-foot from the left side and admirable work-rate, could bring the best out of a target man with good aerial ability, such as Aleksandar Mitrovic, who will be eager to prove himself in the Premier League and establish himself as one for the future.

None of this mentions Young’s versatility. Able to play on both wings, in both fullback positions, behind a striker, or even in a midfield three, he is the most versatile players at Manchester United and one of the best in the Premier League. Young is a leader and a fantastic servant who would offer leadership and experience in a Newcastle side with a few young (no pun intended) heads. Combine this with the fact he would be one of the best footballers at Newcastle, and he’ll be an important player in their quest for Premier League survival.

While he’ll be undoubtedly missed at Manchester United, Old Trafford has always been a place for giving players opportunities and not depriving them, and Young will have an eye on what could be his final opportunity to play at the World Cup in Russia next summer. Playing for Manchester United, his chances are slim, but moving to a club at Newcastle’s level, he will have enough chances to impress and cement his place as one of the most talented English players out there.

Written by Aaron Moniz

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