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Manchester United: Does Ashley Young's Return Mean the End of Nani at United?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02:  Antonio Valencia of Manchester United (R) celebrates with Luis Nani as he scores their first goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Manchester United and Otelul Galati at Old Trafford on November 2, 2011 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IIOctober 13, 2012

Manchester United look set to receive some good news over the international break with winger Ashley Young returning to training for the first time in a month.

The England international had missed several weeks with a troubling knee injury, but according to the latest report in The Daily Mail:

Young joined in full training with the handful of senior United players who are not on international duty this week.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson hopes that Young may be available for the home game against Stoke City on October 20.

Young's return comes as good news for the Red Devils, who have already had to play without several of their first-team stars throughout the Premier League season so far.

However, does the return of one Manchester United star spell the end of another? Will the return of Ashley Young push Nani back to the sidelines at Old Trafford—and perhaps even out the door over the January transfer window?

You'd have to think that the signs are not good for Nani.

The Portuguese winger has been largely unspectacular and uninspiring through the opening few weeks of the English Premier League this season, and given the limited starting positions available, will be hard pressed to earn regular minutes at Old Trafford this year.

Think about it for a minute.

Robin van Persie looks likely to assume his starting spot at the top of the Red Devils attack, and Shinji Kagawa looks likely to keep his spot in behind him.

Antonio Valencia is the clear-cut choice at right wing, and with Wayne Rooney being utilized effectively on the left wing as well as Ashley Young, Nani simply does not have a starting spot to call his own, barring injury or other circumstances.

The winger will still get plenty of minutes in both the UEFA Champions League and the Capital One Cup, and will likely be used in lesser Premier League matches to give starting players good rest, but that isn't the future that Nani would want at Old Trafford. He could well opt to leave the club over the January transfer window as a result.

I posed the question on Twitter and got a myriad of responses, though the common consensus did appear to be that Nani was on his way out anyway—the return of Ashley Young just hurried up what was an otherwise inevitable process.

After all, if Young can't find himself a starting position thanks to the presence of Rooney on the left wing, it seems highly unlikely that Nani will find himself a spot as well.

And with no starting spot, he might just look for other options this season.

 

Does the return of Ashley Young mean the end for Nani?

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