Manchester United man Ashley Young has come under plenty of criticism from the club’s supporters in recent weeks for some below-par displays, but manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has kept the faith with him and named him in the starting XI once again for the visit of Chelsea on Sunday.
The 33-year-old captained the Red Devils as Maurizio Sarri’s men made the trip north to Old Trafford, and fans surely would have been fearful given the former Aston Villa man was set to come up again Eden Hazard after starting at right-back.
However rather than struggling against the mercurial Belgian, the versatile England international impressed from a defensive point of view against one of the best players in the Premier League.
Having dealt with the Blues ace, Young’s next job was to ensure that he was better in possession of the ball than he had been in previous matches.
He also passed that test with flying colours as he was far less wasteful in terms of his passing, which should have impressed the Old Trafford faithful.
The image of Solskjaer consoling a dejected-looking Young after the full-time whistle indicates that the 46-year-old boss was pleased with what he saw from him on a challenging day, especially considering who he was up against.
With just over a year remaining on his contract with United it remains to be seen what the future holds for a player visibly declining, and whether Solskjaer would prefer to get a fee for him this summer or keep him for another 12 months and be willing to lose him for nothing this time in 2020.
Trusting him to mark Hazard on Sunday shows the trust the former Molde boss has in the 33-year-old though, and his experience may well still prove to be useful next term.