When Ashley Young starts a game or is introduced as a substitute the Twitterati has an ever growing tendency to complain. Is this attitude inflicted due to his inconsistency or has the England international become a scapegoat?
Under David Moyes, Ashley Young is having one of his better seasons at Manchester United. For instance, in 2012-13 he failed to score despite having made 19 appearances. From twelve appearances this season the twinkle towed winger already has two goals to his name. Injuries have not been too kind since his Old Trafford arrival and while Young was beginning to hit form this season, it wasn't long before another injury would rule him out for four weeks.
Sir Alex Ferguson, who signed Ashley Young from Aston Villa in 2011, would play the 28-year-old in some of the bigger games because unlike Nani, Young tracks back and assists Patrice Evra defensively as well as offensively. United would therefore have a more balanced approach.
Given the tactical set-up Moyes tends to operate with, Young, granted he stays fit, may become a crucial asset. There is more responsibility and pressure on the full-backs to get up and down the flank then ever before. Evra is playing what seems to be his final season at United and at the age of 31, game time is limited. Regardless of who is selected at left back, Young offers reassurance. Nani is a liability in that regard.
While I have pointed out the positive aspect of Young's game and how he fits into Moyes' plans, there are negatives also. Although, these are shared amongst the majority of United's wingers; mainly being inconsistency.
In Tuesday night's 2-0 win over Cardiff, Young performed superbly out on the left. When we'll see him perform to that standard again is unknown given previous evidence of inconsistency but hopefully a start against Stoke on Saturday will see continuation of good form.
Juan Mata's debutant performance contributed massively to Young's man of the match display. The long diagonal balls out towards the left found the goalscorer a number of times in space. Young took advantage and contributed to both goals, scoring the second.
It's simply a matter of aspiration from a fans' perspective that Young will find some form for the remainder of the season. We all know what he is capable of, but it's about doing it regularly.
David Moyes must make most out of what he's got at his disposal. There are better players out there than Ashley Young, but United will wait until the summer at least before inquiring about their availability. Young is playing for his Manchester United career.