Are Ashley Young’s Best Days Behind Him?

Ashley Young used to be one of the hottest players in the country, so where did it all go wrong for the 28-year-old?

Consecutively scoring at least eight goals in all competitions from 2007-08 to 2011-12, the Stevenage-born winger was an integral part of Aston Villa’s constant challenge to the top end of the Premier League.  Sold to Manchester United for a fee reported to be between £15 million and £20 million, the absence of a player of Young’s quality has become increasingly noticeable at Villa Park.

Not scoring a single goal last season, it is almost as if players have figured the former Watford forward out.  Normally deployed on the left wing, one of Young’s biggest strengths is his ability to cut inside and shoot with his right foot.  Take that away from his game, however, and there does not seem to be much more to him. 

If defenders truly have discovered how to nullify the winger’s impact, he is not of much use to David Moyes’ side.  Young is not particularly known for his pace, with his crossing and shooting perhaps his best attributes.  However, getting into the positions where these traits are most effective would require him being able to beat a man, another thing the United attacker has struggled to do in recent games.

Having played 30 times for England, Young clearly has something.  Although it might seem difficult for us to remember what that something is, it may be an even harder task for the player to rediscover it.