Ashley Young defending better than Patrice Evra, says Man United legend
Clayton Blackmore speaks to The Sport Review about Ashley Young's impressive form this season
Ashley Young is proving to be a better defensive option than former Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra, according to Clayton Blackmore.
The England international has enjoyed an Old Trafford renaissance as manager Louis van Gaal continues to accommodate the England international in an unorthodox wing-back role in a 3-5-2 system.
In the Premier League teams are pressing and squeezing you very high and not give the defence time to play out, so it’s very difficult for the players
Young has made one assist in his new role, providing an attacking threat down the left wing, but former United full-back Blackmore has been particularly impressed by the defensive side of his game.
Speaking to exclusively to The Sport Review, Blackmore said: “Ashley Young’s been fantastic in the five at the back system and he has defended really well as well. Maybe even better than Patrice, who got forward a lot but wasn’t as great at getting back.”
The former France international called time on a distinguished United career last summer after he agreed to join Serie A champions Juventus.
Young benefited from Luke Shaw’s injury-hit start to his Red Devils career following his £27m move from Southampton last summer.
Similarly, Antonio Valencia has enjoyed a run at right wing-back thanks to Rafael da Silva’s fitness struggles this term, but Blackmore wants the Ecuadorian to adopt a more adventurous approach.
Blackmore continued: “Valencia’s always been a strong player, it’s very difficult to come up against him and get past him, but we like to see him playing in those areas further forward and trying to get crosses in.”
Van Gaal has reverted to a traditional 4-4-2 in recent games which could favour Shaw, and Blackmore reckons the manager’s discarded 3-5-2 system is difficult to implement in the Premier League.
“There are a lot of teams in the Premier League now that press and put you under pressure, but years ago they used to drop off you,” said Blackmore.
“So it’s different when a team’s squeezing you and putting pressure on you, you haven’t go that width if you’ve got three centre-backs and it can be a little bit hard to get out.
“In other leagues, they give you the time to get out, but in the Premier League teams are pressing and squeezing you very high and not give the defence time to play out, so it’s very difficult for the players.”