Manchester United full-back Antonio Valencia feels 21 as he shows no signs of slowing down at Old Trafford.
Aged 31, Valencia is one of the veterans at United but the Ecuador star remains one of the club’s top performers and Jose Mourinho’s undisputed right-back in the Premier League.
Valencia has appeared in 33 matches in all competitions for United this season and he plans to stay beyond his contract in 2018.
“I’ve changed in a lot of ways [since then] but with my willingness to keep on training hard, my hunger to keep on improving and my desire to want to remain here at United, I feel like I’m still just 21 years old,” Valencia told Inside United.
“I’m thankful to this great institution [the club] which has given me the chance to fulfil my dreams. And, of course, I’ll continue to fight hard to remain here for a bit longer!”
Valencia – who arrived from Wigan Athletic as a winger in 2009 – continued: “[Former manager] Sir Alex [Ferguson] would play me at right-back in a few games and I think he gradually began to realise that I could defend. David Moyes also used me in that role in a few games.
“Then came [Louis] van Gaal and he played me there in a lot of games. I did a good job there and he continued to play me at right-back. Now the gaffer has come here and he’s given me the opportunity to keep working up and down that right-hand side which I’m enjoying.”
Valencia and United are away to Middlesbrough on Sunday as the Manchester club look to replace Arsenal in fifth position.
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