Hyperbole is not only my new favourite word but it is also so common in today’s ‘beautiful game’ it is hard to decide whether a player has talent or has just had a few decent performances. Manchester United and Liverpool are reportedly leading the chase to sign Aston Villa’s Ashley Young with bids in excess of £25 million being touted in the media, but is the former Watford man worth it?
Ashley Young has phenomenal pace, numerous ‘showboating’ abilities and helps his teams cause with plenty of goals and assists. I can think of lots of players in the Premier League who have the very same attributes though, so is Ashley Young really going to led a new era at Manchester United or pull Liverpool back up into the ‘top four’?
Young joined Villa in a transfer believed to be just shy of £10 million from Watford, initially as a right winger, but Young’s performances in his new role just behind the striker is where he has been making the headlines this season. Ashley Young appears to thrive on the roaming role, much like Dennis Bergkamp did at Arsenal, being allowed freedom to drift to the wings, loiter on the edge of the area or bomb past his fellow striker. The role is suited to the England international because, as most Villa fans will tell you, Young’s crossing ability leaves a lot to be desired, a key skill needed by any winger in their ‘armour’.
Ashley Young has shown he can make the step up to the higher level on two occasions now, which is arguably a trait of a great player. At Watford it was the usual argument surrounding his multi million pound move to Villa Park, ‘big fish small pond’, but Young has appeared in the top 15 of most assists in all of his full seasons at Aston Villa. Furthermore, since Young has donned the shirt of the Three Lions, he has consistently impressed, so much so Wayne Rooney’s place in the side is under threat after Young’s displays against Denmark, Wales and his man of the match performance against Ghana.
The true greats of the game all have one thing in common: great character. Ashley Young is a player who is playing in a team surrounded by a media frenzy over dressing room unrest and hovering perilously close to the Premier Leagues trapdoor, yet week in, week out, Ashley Young continues to produce effective displays for the Villa faithful.
Ashley Young may not be worth as much as the reported £25 million but with the ridiculous sums of money being spent in the modern game, if sold, he will fetch a sum in the same sort of region. Young could offer either Manchester United or Liverpool different options but you have to think that under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson or Kenny Dalglish, Young’s talent can only improve, which is a scary thought; because in this writers opinion, Ashley Young is already a class act.
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