Sunday, 7 August 2011

Nani up to the challenge

Sometimes in life you have to ask yourself what more can I do? Manchester United’s attacking midfielder Nani must have been asking this question on a daily basis since last seasons Champions League final. Having enjoyed his most productive season ever at Old Trafford he was benched for the showpiece final against Barcelona and then had to watch on as United added Ashley Young to their ranks this summer.

However, what all champions do is rise up and make sure that they cannot be forgotten next time. Although the Community Shield is still in theory a pre-season friendly the Portuguese player has laid down a marker for the coming season. His two goals were taken wonderfully well and showed the character and confidence of this young man.

It has not always been plain sailing for the former Sporting CP player who begins his fifth season at United this year. He struggled in his first few seasons when his fellow countryman Cristiano Ronaldo was stealing the headlines. His consistency has been the biggest criticism; a player who can look a world beater one minute and distinctly average the next will always concern a man such as Sir Alex Ferguson. Last season however he begun to shake that tag and started to deliver on a consistent basis.

He ended the season with 10 goals and 14 assists and in this writers opinion should have been Player of the Season. After making it to the Champions League final everybody assumed he would start against Barcelona; however, Antonio Valencia was selected and ended up having an incredibly disappointing game. Nothing was said over his disappointment but being left out must have hurt the 24 year old.

The summer started and United went out and did their business very early. One of the players they brought in was Ashley Young, who has been bought to contest Nani’s starting role this year. The first time he has been asked to stand up was this afternoon at Wembley and he answered any doubters in emphatic style by scoring two goals.

Although the season starts next weekend the one lesson that must be taken from today’s game is that Nani means business again. He has overcome several obstacles in the last few months which will only make his desire to succeed even stronger. I am no Nostradamus but it looks like Nani is going to have another fantastic season.

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