Neville backs Valencia for Number 7

There is always going to be plenty of pressure on any player who puts on the No.7 shirt for Manchester United, yet former full back Gary Neville claims that the new owner of the jersey fully deserves to wear it. Following Michael Owen’s exit from the club this summer, the shirt has been handed to winger Antonio Valencia and Neville claims that there is no better player to own it.

With the likes of David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and George Best all wearing the jersey, there’s no doubt that there is always plenty of pressure associated with it. In fact, new signing Shinji Kagawa actually turned down the chance to own the number – claiming that he wanted to forge a reputation from his own abilities. With Michael Owen featuring sparingly for the Red Devils over the past few years, some have suggested that the shirt has gone to waste somewhat since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure in 2009.

Neville claims that new owner Valencia thoroughly deserves to wear the shirt though, stating that he has been a superb player for Manchester United and will only get better in the future. He told United’s official website, “He’s been a fantastic signing for United and thoroughly deserves that No.7 shirt. Having played with him for a year or two, I can tell you he’s a brilliant footballer, especially to play behind as a right-back. He does the right things at the right time, he works back to help out when you don’t have the ball, he delivers good crosses and he can beat a man.”

Meanwhile, striker Nick Powell is to wear Valencia’s old No.25 shirt. However, the new signing from Crewe is unlikely to be involved too much in first team affairs this term. It is widely thought that the 18-year-old will be sent out on loan to gain more experience.