Jose Mourinho has demonstrated his continued trust in versatile Manchester United player Ashley Young by backing the 32-year-old to play up to 50 matches next season.
United fans may have expected Mourinho to invest in a new left back this summer, after recently admitting a number of the current players in the squad 'won't make it' next season. Young has been converted to a left back role this season, while Luke Shaw remains out in the cold.
But after speaking to MUTV in a recent interview, United fans can expect to see Young to continue at left back for the immediate future after the manager praised the Englishman's improvement over the last couple of seasons.
"When I arrived, he [Young] was playing a few matches per season,” said the boss (via the club's official website). "For the last couple of seasons, lots of injuries, lots of doubts, lots of question marks about his future at the highest level.
"In two years, we managed to have him, even with the important injury he had at the end of last season, but we had him for lots of matches, being important, probably going to the World Cup."
Mourinho talking about 33 year old, right footed, ex winger Ashley Young playing 50 games at left back next season....if that happens he really hasn't got much of a budget this summer— Wark Woldbridge (@markgoldbridge) May 9, 2018
Young has made 35 appearances for the Red Devils in all competitions this season, predominantly from an unfamiliar left back role. However, Young has adapted well to his new position and performed consistently. He is on course to make his 200th United appearance before the end of the season.
"I think he's better now than he was two years ago," Mourinho added. "That's the way I see things and, next year again, he will be an important member of our squad. If he's now on 200, I hope, next season, he goes into the 250s."
Young will be 33 years old by the start of next season, and many United fans would be hoping for a fresh addition to the left side of defence if they want to push on and challenge for the title next season. Young has proved adequate cover in that role, but with Luke Shaw and Daley Blind likely to leave the club in the summer, some more recruits will be needed this summer.