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Antonio Valencia

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Antonio Valencia is a winger in the classical sense

Antonio Valencia is a winger in the classical sense

Dean Mouhtaropoulos / Getty Images

Wingers are something of a dying breed in the modern game, but here is a player possessing the classic attributes long associated with the position.

Antonio Valencia’s ability to beat a man from a standing start, get to the by-line and provide a dangerous cross fit the Manchester United blueprint perfectly. They have long relied on wingers and Valencia is the classic wide man.

Quick Facts:

  • Name: Luis Antonio Valencia Mosquera
  • Nationality: Ecuadorian
  • Date and Place of Birth: August 4, 1985 in Lago Agrio, Ecuador
  • Position: Winger
  • Current Club: Manchester United (Premier League)
  • Previous Clubs: El Nacional (2003-2005), Villarreal (2005-2008), Recreativo (2005-2006, loan), Wigan (2006-2008, loan), Wigan (2008-2009)
  • International Career: 2005 to present
  • The Early Years:

    Valencia joined El Nacional at the age of 16, only telling his mother and brother of his decision to join a club which was an eight-hour bus ride away.

    He started in central midfield, going on to play alongside the likes of Edison Mendez, before Villarreal swooped to sign him in 2005.

    Valencia found first team opportunities hard to come by at El Madrigal but gained experience out on loan at Recreativo Huelva and Wigan Athletic.

    He thrived under manager Paul Jewell and his successor Steve Bruce in the Premier League, and Wigan made the move permanent a season and a half later.

    Goalscoring was not his forte - Valencia made 83 appearances, scoring seven times for Wigan - but his dynamic contribution on the wing and combination play with team-mates impressed Bruce.

    Wigan chairman Dave Whelan rarely stands in a player’s way if a big club comes calling and that was the case when in June 2009 Manchester United made the player their first summer signing when they secured him for an undisclosed fee.

    The Theater of Dreams:

    Valencia helped United to the Carling Cup in his first season at Old Trafford, being voted man-of-the-match in the final against Aston Villa.

    In the 2010-11 season he returned from a horrific ankle break to help guide the club to the Premier League title and an appearance in the Champions League final.

    International Career:

    The player scored two goals on his international debut – a 5-2 World Cup qualifying win against Paraguay.

    Some lively performances at the 2006 World Cup saw him nominated as a candidate for the Best Young Player award.

    Valencia netted the first goal for Ecuador against Chile in the 2007 Copa America but they lost that game and bowed out in the group stages.

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