The Ecuador international has been at Old Trafford since 2009 and while he admits he is not their biggest star, he hopes to stay for another six years
Antonio Valencia knows he is not Manchester United’s bigger star, but after seven and a half years of service he is confident he has many more ahead of him at Old Trafford.
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Joining from Wigan as a winger in June 2009, the Ecuador international was used sparingly in defence over the years until Louis van Gaal began using him exclusively as a right wing-back.
Still a constant presence in the first-team under Jose Mourinho, the 31-year-old has been described as the best right-back in the world by his manager.
As the club spent big money to attract star players in order to climb back up the Premier League, Valencia admits that at one point he thought he would be pushed aside. However, he hopes he can stay for much longer, despite his contract expiring in 2018.
“I am very happy and I’m very grateful for the manager’s words. I don’t believe I’m the best but I am really pleased to still be here,” Valencia told the Daily Mail.
“There was a time when I saw players of the class of Angel Di Maria and Memphis Depay arriving and wondered if my time was reaching an end. Perhaps I needed to start looking for a new club. Thankfully I just concentrated and trained hard and maybe that’s why I’m still here.
“Mourinho has shown faith in me to stay here so I’m delighted. I don’t want to say I am 100 per cent a right-back. I still feel like a right-sided attacking player but I guess I am getting there.
“It’s quite tough because you need to focus even more because you’re playing closer to your own goal. One misplaced pass can result in you conceding a goal.
“I feel I’ve improved in that area but when I’m on the attack it’s like I’m in my position. But I am in the team and feel like I have the manager’s backing and his trust.
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“I have a new contract and I love the club, the city and my family like living here in Manchester. I would like to stay here as long as I can, five even six years, more maybe!”
United welcome Watford to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday.