The Young Ones – Worst X1

The Worst X1

With Manchester United reportedly agreeing a fee with Crystal Palace for their right back, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, it brings me to the full back position of my current ‘worst XI’ side.

If reports on social media are true, United have tabled a bid of around £50 million for the young south Londoner. This has been a troubled position for the Red Devils since the retirement of Gary Neville. Red Nev had occupied the role for nearly 20 years and once the class of ’92 representative was hooked at half time during a new years day fixture away to West Bromwich Albion, the writing was on the wall for the club captain at the turn of 2011.

For eight seasons, United have tried several players in this position and with not much success. John O’Shea, Wes Brown, Rafael, Fabio, Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Matteo Darmian and Ashley Young, have all tried and failed to impress, at the right back berth.

Diogo Dalot, signed by Jose Mourinho, is an unknown quantity at this level and after a few fleeting performances, was left mainly to twiddle his thumbs from the dugout. But it is the latter from the previous list, which make my eleven. Ashley Young.

Now over the years as a United fan, there have been some amazing talent displayed on that Old Trafford pitch. Captains and leaders galore. This season though, when things really couldn’t of worsened, Ashley Young was there to lead the team out, captains arm band an all. First and foremost, lets not forget that it was a trend of starting to play wingers as full backs. First Valencia at right back and then Young at left back. For Young to be made captain and leader of this side, well that hurts. It hurts my eyes and it hurts my head.

Young was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer of 2011 from Aston Villa for a fee around £17 million. Signed as a winger, Young could operate on either flank and was deadly at set pieces. He was an integral part of the side that won the title in Sir Alex’s final season, and who can forget his goals in the memorable 8-2 victory at home to Arsenal in his debut season.

Unfortunately for Young, with the attacking talent signed by the club and with youngsters starting to come through, it was noticeable that the winger would be struggling to get into the side. A spell at full back followed, the problem being is that an attacking player who converts to a defender, naturally can’t sense danger. Always either caught ball watching or not side on, Young can often be found wanting when facing talented opposition.

My early memories as a United fan consist of Viv Anderson, Paul Parker, Clayton Blackmore and Gary Neville, bombing down the right flank. Now its just pure disappointment in every attack. It makes it worse that Young was an ex winger as last season he wouldn’t of even got a job as a postman with his failure to deliver every week. Over hit crosses, corners hitting the front post. Just not for me. Sorry Youngy, but you make my squad.

A quick re-cap

GK: Massimo Taibi

RB: Ashley Young

About the Author

John McNicoll
Southern Red and Football enthusiast.