Club loyalty is still alive and well within the Manchester United squad


When a club endures a change in manager, it also can endure a change in playing style philosophy. With a change in that philosophy can come a change in which players fit in with the club, and which ones don’t, which can leave these players facing a decision.

The question of whether or not to stay and take a cut in either salary or playtime, or to leave and go for these things can become a tough one when you come to love the club you already play for. Manchester United is also one of those clubs that traditionally has drawn in that loyalty from its players throughout history.

Things can get even more confusing for players when there are three changes in the permanent manager position. Many players have seemed to fall between the cracks of the United squad, potentially missing out on significant playtime in a prime point of their careers.

Some of them may have gone down the totem pole for poor form, but instead of being transferred or being given a second chance, they’re stuck in the reserves.

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Many players would most likely make a move during the transfer window to a club where they can get more playtime to improve or sometimes more money if they were caught up in this, but some seem to have refused to give up on that United starting XI spot.

The recent reports that Antonio Valencia will potentially be leaving the club after United decided they won’t extend his contract highlights this club loyalty that has seemed to exist at the club for decades.

Valencia could possibly be leaving the club on the 10-year anniversary of the now 33-year-old Ecuadorian national’s arrival at United, and while he has faced quite a few bouts of injury, Valencia has managed to stick with the club through the thick of the changes the club was enduring throughout the last six years.

While Valencia has stayed fairly consistent with his appearances since 2013, he did lack in appearances during the 2015/16 season, only making 24 appearances due to injury in all competitions with the club. However, while he has had his struggles, he never gave up on the club, and he stayed loyal in the hopes to redeem himself at United instead of leaving to a smaller club.

Ashley Young joined the United squad from Aston Villa in July of 2011 with an atmosphere of excitement around him. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to match his form at Aston Villa, as over the next few years after he moved, his appearances became less consistent, and so did his form it seemed, as he only made 24 appearances in all competitions that year.

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Again, many players (especially as they age) would consider making a move to increase their playtime and get them back into form. Young stuck around and kept up his training to remain in consideration for the first team spot, and this is something that is becoming more and more unique about United. The players are not willing to give up on the starting positions, even when they are bumped down the list.

Both of these players show different scenarios in which the United badge seemingly kept players who could have easily made a move and kept them in the fight for a starting role. Many others have definitely been in this position like younger players Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard, who some may say have been knocked back a year or two, due to not fitting into a system at some point while United have been enduring changes.

While those players still had time to prove themselves given their youth, veterans such as Young and Valencia suffered cuts to their playtime during the prime points of their careers.

However, in the modern age where the only goal for players is to become the biggest star and receive the highest wages, some still prioritise the club, and will take a cut to their own playtime just to wear the United badge when they do come on the pitch, and of course, to possibly lift another trophy while wearing the badge as well.

Written by Joel Dulka

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