Antonio Valencia was Manchester United’s player of the season in 2011-12 and was rewarded with the number 7 shirt. The following season wasn’t a good one for him personally, even though United won the 20th league title, so he reverted back to number 25.
Louis van Gaal converted Valencia’s position to right-back and it wasn’t a totally smooth process, with his concentration and positioning letting him down at times. However, under Jose Mourinho, Valencia has grown as a player, with our manager claiming he’s the best in his position in the world.
Mourinho’s affection for the player isn’t a new thing though. He has revealed that when he was at Real Madrid, between 2010 and 2013, he tried to bring Valencia to the Spanish club.
He was not playing at right-back. Yes, I wanted him to play at right-back. But Manchester United was intelligent and strong, and immediately stopped any feeling about any possibility. Antonio is playing better than ever, I think. This season he is playing magnificently.