Being dropped for recent Champions League encounters at Manchester United is just piling even more pressure on the out of form Antonio Valencia.
Manchester United are graced with wide players at the moment and the effect Nani had against Real Madrid, before being sent off, hints that he may well be given the nod in imminent big fixtures for the side.
The problem that creates for Valencia is pressure, pressure which he’s not used to, may not have expected and pressure which will start to affect his game at some point.
He’s not used to it because he’s been relatively sure of his place in the United side over the past couple of seasons.
The danger is that if he lets the pressure get to him too much then he may not be able to force his way back into the first team and stay there.
While he’s very unlikely to leave Manchester United, he could well find himself reduced to having to sit on the bench for most games with the odd rare chance in a lower profile fixture.
The only way he can deal with the pressure is to play out of his skin or put in the sort of effort levels which make him totally indispensible to the first team, like he did last season.
He’s fortunate in the respect that he can also play at right back which means he has a way back into the team, even if he’s struggling to match up against the form of the other wingers at the club.
He’s not a defensive minded player but if Rafael or Chris Smalling were to join Phil Jones in the injury room then it’s a small window for him to prove why he should still be considered as the number one wide player at the club.
United will not sell him because he’s potential of some really great performances and he has been one of the best wingers at the club, and the Premier League in general, over the last couple of seasons, and showed their trust in him by handing him the illustrious number seven shirt last summer.
The pressure he’s currently under may even oddly work in his favour because it will force him into producing his very best, which is a plus for the club as they seek to complete a double by the end of the season.
That will increase his confidence and he will start to get a little bit of that lost belief back, which all round will make him a much better and more in form player.
This is not a stupid player we’re talking about, this is a guy who is always thinking of ways to reinvent himself and he’ll be working on his weaknesses every single day to try and make himself a better player all round.
Do you think he’ll struggle under the pressure or it will help him?
image: © vagueonthehow