Time up for Ashley Young at Manchester United after Barcelona disasterclass?

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We're all capable of the odd stinker, none of us are perfect and sometimes it just doesn't go for you on the pitch. Regardless of what level you play at, there's no worse feeling than constantly misplacing passes, fucking up your first touch or being skinned by that rapid winger wearing a pair of luminous pink or yellow boots.

You know the guy, the guy who did four around-the-world's in a row during the warm-up while you were shanking it over the bar and getting a bollocking by your own keeper because you 'didn't test him'.

Even professional footballers have off days, they're only human after all. However, unlike us, they're being watched by millions. Everything they do is scrutinised to the finest detail, especially when they're competing in the Champions League against the best sides in the world.

It's why they're paid the big bucks - handle the pressure, put on a show, maybe score a goal, maybe stop one. It doesn't really matter, just don't completely fluff your lines, whatever you do. A mistake here and there, sure, it's part and parcel of the game. Thirty mistakes in one game? You're starting to take the piss.

Last night Manchester United's makeshift right-back Ashley Young had a howler, there's no other way to describe it. He looked nervous, which of course is natural when playing Barcelona in the quarter-final of the Champions League, but try and disguise it a bit, Ashley, for god's sake.

Look at young Scott McTominay in the centre of the park, he'd have been shitting himself, but he got hold of the game early on, looked comfortable in possession and was probably the best player on the pitch come the end of the encounter, which United narrowly lost 1-0 thanks to an early own goal from Luke Shaw.

BT Sport pundit and former United midfielder Owen Hargreaves said that last night was a "defining moment" for the 22-year-old Scotland international. "That's him now established. Really credit to him because that's fantastic," added an impressed Hargreaves who spoke for the majority of us in his praise for McTominay, who was also the standout performer in United's last-16 clash with PSG in March.

Back to Ashley Young, though, and things couldn't have gone much differently for the former Watford and Aston Villa man at Old Trafford.

The 33-year-old has made a career from being able to whip the ball into the area with that trusty right foot of his, but last night that trusty right foot seemed to turn into a low-budget beginners pitching wedge purchased from Sports Direct, used to float the ball ever so nicely into the waiting arms of Barcelona's man between the sticks, Marc-André ter Stegen, over and over again.

Young failed to complete any of the eleven crosses he attempted against the Catalans, while his passing accuracy was miles off it. Opta reported that just 73% of Young's attempted passes were completed successfully throughout the 90 minutes, bloody hell.

Manchester Evening News gave his performance a 1/10, also writing: "His performance level has been low for some time and it plummeted against Barça. Could not get rid of the ball quickly enough. Could be dropped on Saturday." United fans also voiced their opinions on social media following the game, calling for the club to sell the former England international in the summer.


Manchester United are currently in a period of transition, their season was ruined by Jose Mourinho prior to Christmas but under the guidance of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer they look to be making steady progress.

Should they achieve a top four finish at the end of the campaign and secure European football for another year, then the season will be somewhat salvaged, anything else is a bonus.

It's going to be extremely difficult for the Red Devils to get anything from the return leg of their Champions League clash against Barcelona next week, considering how strong the Spaniards are on home soil, especially if players like Ashley Young put in a performance similar to last night's at the Camp Nou.

United's focus is predominantly on the Premier League, and with Manchester City and Chelsea still to play from now until the end of the campaign, the squad is really going to have to pull together and perform to the highest level if they're to achieve a top four finish ahead of Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Continuing to play young at right-back is, quite simply, a danger however. The 33-year-old has been a liability this season, epitomised by the red card he was shown for two extremely rash tackles against Wolves last week, which saw him sent off at Molineux. Almost every week you'd feel confident on Young being carded, which tells its own story, doesn't it?

Silly mistakes like these can't be afforded if United are to start seriously challenging for the Premier League once again. They need a world class right-back next term, because for years they have been without one. Antonio Valencia improved massively throughout his ten-year period at Old Trafford, slowly adapting to the role he was tasked with, but the time has come for him to move on as well, and Young simply cannot cut the mustard anymore.

Diego Dalot looks to be a bit of a player, deployed on the left hand side last night and should he be given a chance at Old Trafford to make that right-back slot his own next season, we could start to see him flourish in the Premier League.

As for Young, sadly it looks as though his time at the top has come to an end. Last night's performance was merely the icing on the cake, the straw that broke the camels back. For months now he's looked off the pace, and sooner rather than later, keeping him in the side will only further restrict a Manchester United side so desperate to start moving forward after years spent in the slowly-setting quick sand.


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