Rooney, Rio & Valencia – The Top 3 United Players of the Season


Manchester United are well on their way to becoming champions for the 20th time. The title challenge is not yet over and with 5 games to go and 5 points separating the two teams (with a derby to come!), it’ll be a thrilling finale.

Manchester City shall try their best to rein in the deficit while Sir Alex Ferguson wll have to use all his experience and cunning to ensure that there are no slip ups from his side.

Let us have a look at three players who have formed the bedrock of United’s title defence.

Rio Ferdinand- He is 33 and is past his prime. Or so most critics would like to think. But the way the guy has stood up and fought back has been brilliant. He isn’t that fast anymore as SAF pointed out and so has had to tailor his game to still be a defender to reckon with.

He is a great reader of the game and brings a calming influence to the backline, something which Jonny Evans has derived a lot of benefit from. Evans knows he can occasionally bomb forward coz Rio is there to cover for him. Rio leads the backline very well. He speaks his mind so all around him know they have to be on their toes otherwise a rollicking is not too far behind!

Wayne Rooney- He is United’s talisman. And he has stood up this season. He has been very consistent and has chipped in with his fair share of goals and assists. He has stood up in the big games and has scored plenty against United’s top opponents.

He is 5 goals away from equalling his career best of 34 goals in a single season. His increased consistency and maturity has been a boon for the team. He has been booked only once this season and that too for England in a Euro qualifier. He is the fulcrum of United’s attacks and his ball distribution is brilliant.

He links well with both Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez always looks to be in the thick of the action. The calmness around him has led to an increased determination to make sure United win title no 20 and with Wayne firing on all cylinders, such an occurrence is  not too far away.

Antonio Valencia- The guy had a horrific injury last season. Nani`s good form kept him out of the side during the starting period of this season. But it is a testament to the character of the guy that he was described as the `best winger in the world` by Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola a few weeks back.

He has been a driving force behind many a United goal in recent times. His stunning opener at Blackburn was followed by a celebration which showed how much it meant for the club`s title challenge. With 13 assists, he has become the ‘go to guy’ for the club.

His direct style of play and defensive responsibility are qualities which are well appreciated by the boss and the fans. Rooney himself has said that he is happy when Valencia plays as he knows that a barrage of crosses is coming his way!

Left backs don’t know how to deal with him as he has answers to almost all that is thrown his way. He can probably work on timing his crosses better and crossing quickly sometimes. He, at 16m, has been a steal and with his best years yet to come, United fans can expect a lot more of him in the upcoming years.

Honorable mentions must go to Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David De Gea and Michael Carrick. They have been brilliant as well. The whole team has clicked and is well on its way to becoming Barclays Premer League champions for the 13th time in its 20 year history!

Yashasvee Prasad

For more Football Blogs and opinion from football fans around the world