Ashley Young has had a breakthrough season at Manchester United. Not only has he won over the majority of his doubters, but he has ousted record signing Angel Di Maria from the starting line-up.
The winger has improved dramatically under Louis van Gaal and has shown enough consistency to warrant a regular place on United’s left wing this season.
However, after United agreed to sign Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven this summer, Young’s long-term future at the club has been thrown into doubt. The former Aston Villa man may not settle for being a back-up option after such an impressive year.
Depay is one of the brightest young talents on the continent but to immediately oust Young after he has shown a great deal of promise seems harsh.
However, there is an argument to suggest that Young is a limited player, who does not have enough quality to play regularly for a club like United, who want to challenge for honours domestically and in Europe.
The Red Devils are one of the biggest clubs in the world and need outstanding quality in all positions. There is plenty to suggest that Young is just not good enough to start every game.
The England international has scored just twice and assisted three in his 23 league appearances this season. Compare that to Di Maria, who has three goals and 10 assists in less overall game-time and you immediately see an issue.
Young is in the side because he is more reliable in possession and he takes fewer risks. United cannot afford to lose possession cheaply as they do not have a defence that can be relied upon to quell opposition danger, which is why the risk-taking Di Maria has been confined to the bench.
Next season, Van Gaal will attempt to push United onto the next level and a limited player like Young will not be used as regularly. Depay has the potential to develop into a world class talent, which is exactly what United require.
Although it seems harsh on Young, he does not have as much quality as the 21-goal Dutch winger and will be used as a support option next season.