USA TODAY Sports
Valencia could have a resurgent season playing in the wing-back position
Since winning the 2011-12 Players' Player of the Year at United and being handed the No. 7 shirt, Antonio Valencia's career has plateaued. He's been unable to play solid football on a consistent basis.
A talented player, Valencia is something of a tweener. He is perhaps more defensively stout than the average winger, but he is also less technically gifted than such a winger. However, his game-breaking speed has often been too much for his managers to pass up, typically being played in an advanced wide role under David Moyes.
Under the tutelage of Louis van Gaal, Valencia will have the best of both worlds in his right wing-back role, able to showcase his defensive ability while also making the surging runs United fans have become accustomed to.
Even with his offensive freedom, it seems he won't be relied on too much to create with Ander Herrera and Juan Mata in the side. As a result, a good amount of his role will be centered around defense.
Van Gaal's confidence in Valencia's ability to play this position is supported by the fact that he reportedly told right-back Rafael da Silva that he is not in his plans, per Colin Harvey of Daily Star.
If those rumors prove to be true, then Valencia has won the battle for right wing-back, and he can begin mending a damaged career by playing in a position that will put all of his attributes on display.