At risk of being the worst £17 million Manchester United ever spent?

Young And Scholes Free Kick

Ashley Young is injured again. Is his time at Manchester United running out?

Ashley Young might have hoped this season would be different. After an injury plagued opening two seasons at Manchester United, particularly his second year, he is off to a bad start.

He missed the Community Shield match, has pulled out of the midweek England game, and surely only an optimist would place him on the teamsheet for United's opener against Swansea.

Young featured in exactly half of United's Premier League fixtures last season, playing the full 90 minutes just nine times.

Three separate spells out with injury ruined any continuity in his form, and in 2013 he featured in just seven league matches out of a possible 18, missing the club's final seven games of the campaign.

The rarity was December, when he played 90 minutes in five out of six games, and provided assists in four of them.

It was a telling example of what he can be capable of, given a run in the side, but the jury is out on whether he will ever get one.

As his former Aston Villa teammate prepares to seal a move away from Liverpool, history tells us the Anfield career of Stewart Downing will not be recorded as a success.

If Young, sold for slightly less at £17 million to Manchester United, were to leave tomorrow, it would also be seen as a failure, due to his transformation into a modern-day 'sicknote.'

And that would be a shame because Young is a highly talented winger, who signed for United after a superb few seasons at Aston Villa which saw Martin O'Neill ludicrously put him in the same category as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Now Young simply has one season to show he was worth the money, or face being moved on. In 2013 he has no assists for his club, scoring a solitary goal this calendar year for England against San Marino.

His United career has been plagued by accusations of diving, while even his spectacular England form took a dip after an underwhelming Euro 2012 where he was tipped to be the country's player of the tournament and failed to deliver.

Young need only look across the dressing room, to see Wilfried Zaha to see for himself that he is no longer English football's exciting prospect, and should be spurred on by the challenge of proving himself.

His latest injury is an ankle complaint, a worry bearing in mind it was an ankle problem which saw him miss the final month of last season.

Young would have desperately wanted to avoid a setback like this, with added competition and a new boss to impress. The woes of Nani and Valencia distracted from his underwhelming season last campaign - but this season there can be no excuses.

Is Young not good enough for United? Unlucky and injury prone? Or both...?

image: © vagueonthehow

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