5 Manchester United Players with a Point to Prove Next Season

Max TowleAnalyst IJune 27, 2013

5 Manchester United Players with a Point to Prove Next Season

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    Manchester United were utterly dominant in the Premier League last term, winning the big one by a canter.

    But despite this domestic rule, there were still several Red Devils who had underwhelming campaigns at Old Trafford.

    Some failed to find form, others were rotated in and out of the first team, struggling to build consistency.

    Here are five United players with a point to prove next season.

Danny Welbeck

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    Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck was given an increased role in the first team last season.

    Sir Alex Ferguson deployed him more in an attacking midfield role, often as a spoiler in the middle or out on the wing.

    But this should not distract from Welbeck's biggest failing—his ability to score goals.

    In 39 appearances in all competitions last term, the 22-year-old struck only twice. The previous season, he scored 12.

    It is his lack of composure in the box. Unless he wants to find himself in no-man's land in terms of his preferred role in the team, this needs to drastically improve. 

Ashley Young

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    Next up is winger Ashley Young, a man who has yet to live up to expectations since moving from Aston Villa two years ago.

    Young made only 21 appearances last season as injury problems often kept him sidelined.

    But when he did play, he was poor. There are genuine doubts at Old Trafford that he lacks the quality needed to cut it at the highest level.

    Unless he wants to be permanently billed as a middle-table player, the 27-year-old needs to improve his ability to beat an opposing full-back one-on-one.

    He is a hard-working player who tracks back and helps out in defence, but this does not make for a prolific winger.

Shinji Kagawa

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    Unlike the previous two players, Shinji Kagawa is included less for form and more for the feeling that he can deliver more for the Red Devils next term.

    The Japanese playmaker delivered in bursts for United last season, but a lack of playing time in the central trequartista role saw his influence restricted.

    Injury also led to a slightly disappointing first campaign at Old Trafford for Kagawa.

    Even if Wayne Rooney remains at United, the 24-year-old should have a far better 2013/14 season.

    David Moyes will look to maximize Kagawa's best attributes: his exceptional balance, creativity and ability to cause havoc between the lines.  

Antonio Valencia

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    In terms of disappointing campaigns, Antonio Valencia's 2012/13 topped them all.

    The Ecuadorian winger hauled himself up and down the right flank, often failing to muster up enough energy to take on his marker one-on-one.

    When he did create enough space for himself, his final delivery into the box was dreadfully inconsistent.

    Blame injury problems again for this sudden drop for the man who was the Red Devils' best player in 2011/12.

    With his fitness back to peak, Valencia will have a massive point to prove next season.  

Wayne Rooney

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    This slide hinges on a pretty big "if"—if Wayne Rooney remains at Old Trafford next season, he will have a point to prove.

    He will have to prove his loyalty to a club he has now asked to leave twice.

    His quality has not diminished, but it is clear the trequartista role is not his best position. Let Kagawa have his turn next term.

    If Rooney remains at United, he will have to show a willingness to adapt.

    Robin van Persie is set to be the side's long-term option as the lone striker; Rooney's attitude to change must improve.