Ashley Young surely brings back very fond memories of the days when Aston Villa were good.
Those were the days, weren’t they? When Ashley Young and James Milner were commanding the wings for Aston Villa, with big John Carew dominating the middle and Gareth Barry commanding the midfield alongside Stiliyan Petrov and Nigel Reo-Coker.
Once upon a time when he wasn’t taking flak from Manchester United fans on a daily basis, Ashley Young was the jewel of the Villa squad. The man who made things happen from the wing, and never looked short of answers.
If someone asked you who was better out of Young or Messi, you would likely laugh in their face, right? Well, back in the good old days of 2008 when the Argentine wizard had only collected 16 goals and 15 assists in 40 appearances, Martin O’Neill claimed Ashley young to be, and I quote, “on par with Lionel Messi”.
Although uttering this statement would earn someone a one-way ticket to an asylum nowadays, at the time we could sort of, maybe, kind of understand where O’Neill was coming from as the tricky wing wizard had accumulated a career-best 16 assists during the 2007/08 campaign.
His ability to sit on the left-wing and cut inside on his right peg and swirl in a well-calculated howitzer of a cross for his teammates was, dare we say, unparalleled at the time, and Villa, for the most part, enjoyed their most prosperous campaigns in recent memory around the time he was donning the claret and blue.
Young was twice named in the PFA Team of the Year thanks to his efforts at Villa Park before eventually joining Manchester United in 2011 for a reported £17million.
While six goals and 11 assists is about as good as it will ever get for the Englishman, who has only managed to make 30+ league appearances for the club once in eight years, he has enjoyed his most successful years at Old Trafford in terms of silverware – winning four major trophies, including the Premier League and Europa League.
At the tender old age of 33, Young is seeing out his days as a Manchester United player as a target of fans frustration, as the club go from one misery to the next (he hasn’t been great, to be fair). Whether he survives the upcoming exodus as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer attempts to change United’s fortunes remains to be seen.
Note: Ashley Young still hasn’t managed to surpass his Villa stats at Old Trafford (37 goals & 59 assists in 190 appearances compared to 18 goals and 48 assists in 241 appearances).
Aston Villa fans, what are your standout memories of Ashley Young? Join the discussion by commenting below…
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