Earlier today we posted an article on 'Five under performing Manchester United players so far this season' - included was Nani, who has missed the past fortnight of action.
Prior to his injury he had accumulated two goals and one assist in 12 games. The poor form of Young has perhaps lended credence to Nani's qualities, but the facts are neither are looking good at present, and nor even is Valencia.
One poster, 'timbo59' has put forward a very good impassioned defence of Nani; It's well worth a read...
The author is obviously clueless about wing play and fine players in general if he considers that Nani is not missed - has he not been watching the parlous state of United's play so far this season?
There is no other player on the TEAM (forget about just wingers) with his rare gifts going forward, and for those who criticize the Portuguese maestro for being selfish they should note how many assists he racks up when playing regularly.
In a team that is so utterly bereft of ideas going forward and so lacking in creativity from the midfield and wings, Nani's scintillating forays going forward should be of paramount importance, especially in comparison to the stodgy and predictable play of Valencia and the abysmal displays being put on by Young.
Nani is the ONLY player at United with the complete package in attack, a two-footed genius able to scythe through multiple defenders with ease, lay on sublime passes to team mates, and launch highlight reel goals from just about anywhere in the opposition's half. His deficiencies are no less prevalent in other players at United (Rooney the most notable) who get regular playing time, 1/10th the criticism, and offer next to nothing in attack by comparison to Nani. As an example, look at the utterly ridiculous own goal Rooney inexplicably headed in a few weeks ago - not the first time he's conceded goals while defending - and consider the howls that would have been heard from one end of the country to the other had Nani been the culprit. The double standards at United in recent seasons have been appalling to witness, and sadly its been the few truly creative players at the club who've had to suffer for it.
It's a reflection on the parlous state of British football, its slipping standards and myopic inward gaze, that a player with Nani's rare gifts would be an automatic first team selection for just about any of the major European teams in Spain, Italy, France and Germany, countries where sheer football skill is a far more highly prized commodity than stolid and unimaginative England, a nation still labouring along under the delusion that its time will come again as a matter of course and that no upstarts from abroad dare tell the inventors of the game how to play it.
Nani should be given playing time to rebuild the confidence and self-belief Fergie himself was responsible for ruining. Given his head and the support of the manager Nani is capable of being one of the world's best players, his gifts are just so sublime and rare, but such talent needs to be nurtured and encouraged.
The Fergie of 20 odd years ago would have done so, while the Fergie of today probably wouldn't give a maverick like Cantona a run had he happened along now.
What do you think? Does Nani have a future at United? Should he have more chances?
image: © notsogoodphotography