Matteo Darmian: This Man United defender is one of the world’s best
The Italy defender talks up Manchester United full-back Antonio Valencia
Matteo Darmian has hailed Manchester United full-back Antonio Valencia as one of the best defenders in the world.
The Ecuador international has been a regular in Jose Mourinho’s side in the 2016-17 season so far when the full-back has been fit.
The former Wigan Athletic defender even managed to scoop the player of the month award for August as the Red Devils won their opening three games.
Valencia has made 12 Premier League appearances as the 20-time English champions continue to stutter in the top flight under their new manager.
Darmian has found it more of a challenge to secure a regular place in Mourinho’s starting line-up in the 2016-17 campaign so far.
Discussing what attributes are required to be one of the world’s best full-backs, Darmian talked up his Manchester United team-mate Valencia.
“The role of full-back has changed a little bit since I started playing. Now a great full-back isn’t just one who stops every attack, but also gets forward wherever possible because the attacking demands on the position have increased,” Darmian told United’s website.
“We need to help our strikers and wingers more than before, but we have to be focused also behind, because defending is still the most important thing. Those duties mean it is important that you are smart and focused all the time. Good technique helps and, of course, more and more it is important that you are a strong runner because you have to get up and down the pitch.
“If you look around the world at the best full-backs in the world today, they all have those attributes. You probably think of Marcelo at Real Madrid, Dani Alves of Juventus and Bayern Munich’s David Alaba. Antonio Valencia is also doing very well as well here at United. He has been very impressive, especially considering he was a winger for so long.”
The Red Devils have draw 1-1 in their last three Premier League games against Arsenal, West Ham United and Everton.
Mourinho’s side will host top-four rivals Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.