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Ashley Young’s Incredible Man Utd Revival

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He looked destined for a departure at the beginning of 2017 but the winger-turned-defender has become a first-choice pick now under Jose Mourinho.

Manchester United. Enduring a spell of only two first-team appearances in 18 games, the former England winger had become the subject of increasing transfer speculation that even resulted in his manager making a public appeal for him to stay.

“The only player that I am waiting for a decision on is Ashley Young,” said Jose Mourinho in January. “He is a player I would love to keep. I am not happy at all if he leaves, but he’s the only player that I was informed there is a possibility of him leaving.”

Young had been reduced to little more than chief dressing room DJ at the time and looked destined for a move to China. But having made the decision to give it a go at Old Trafford, he has reaped the rewards and then some. From early February onwards he played in 14 of 21 fixtures before picking up a season-ending hamstring injury against Celta Vigo in May. And since returning to full fitness this term he has appeared in six of the last seven United games.

It is quite the transformation for a man who has gradually been considered a full-back first and an attacker second. But when he faced the media on Tuesday on the eve of Manchester United’s Champions League group-stage visit to Benfica, he refused to go into the details of just how close he had come to leaving the club last winter.

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