United Duo In Team Of The Week (20/3/17)
Manchester United are represented in the latest Premier League team of the week that has been selected by BBC pundit Garth Crooks.
Actually Garth is now down as a 'Football Analyst' these days, a posh term for a pundit then!
The performances by Antonio Valencia and Jesse Lingard in the three one victory over Middlesbrough at the weekend at the Riverside Stadium was enough to earn them a place in the side alongside the other, in the opinion of the former Spurs striker anyway, most impressive performers in the topflight over the latest weekend.
I think we'll already know ourselves, and not just based on the latest performance, why Crooks, we'll also not argue with it, selected the duo as part of his team but explaining his choice he told the BBC.
'What a way to score your first goal of the season. I was never one for chasing lost causes because logic seemed to suggest the cause was lost. However, Antonio Valencia chased a ball that looked utterly futile to everyone except Valencia. It seemed the threat of Valencia's speedy approach served to hurry Victor Valdes and in so doing caused the Boro goalkeeper to slip and offer the United player an empty net. At that point there must have been thousands of coaches justifying themselves to youngsters all over the country on why chasing lost causes has always been worthwhile. But to see United boss Jose Mourinho disappear down the tunnel before the final whistle shaking both fists in total delight at the apparent three points was for me utterly shameful. What happens to head coach Steve Agnew in future, or Middlesbrough Football Club for that matter is, at this moment, in the balance but Agnew did deserve to receive a handshake from the Manchester United manager at the end of the game as tradition demands. This is Manchester United Football Club and it has a long and proud history of doing things properly. I hope the United board have the courage to remind their employee who he represents. Sir Alex Ferguson, with all his tantrums, always respected the traditions of the game and would never have behaved in such a manner. As for Valencia, there can only be Zlatan Ibrahimovic stopping him from becoming United's fans' player of the season. I know who I would pick.'
'This was a lovely winner from a local lad with an enormous amount of talent. When Jesse Lingard scores goals they tend to be tremendous finishes and his strike against an outclassed Middlesbrough was an absolute belter. He and his partner in crime, Marcus Rashford, were superb against Boro. The problem for Rashford is that goals are proving to be rather elusive at the moment, while Lingard looks comfortable in front of the sticks. These two young, local lads continue to prove United still have the capacity to develop talent. What I also noticed during this very credible performance by United was they didn't miss the presence of Paul Pogba. The only interesting feature about United's record signing these days are his meticulous haircuts. If the Frenchman put as much effort into his game as he does in his hair there's no telling what he could achieve.'
It's always good to see the club represented in this way, and well played to both for their recognition, but the most important thing about the weekend was of course the points.
Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City), Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion), John Stones (Manchester City), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Allan Nyom (West Bromwich Albion), Antonio Valencia (Manchester United), Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur), David Silva (Manchester City), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Romelu Lukaku (Everton), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United).