Man United's Ashley Young: 'I still see myself as a winger,' not a left-back
Ashley Young has told ESPN FC that he still sees himself as a winger despite emerging as Jose Mourinho's first-choice left-back at Manchester United this season.
Young, 32, is just six games away from equalling his highest number of appearances in a season for United, having made 27 so far this term in comparison to the 33 he racked up during his first campaign at Old Trafford in 2011-12.
The former Watford and Aston Villa man has earned an England recall this season and was praised for his man-of-the-match performance at full-back during United's 2-1 Premier League victory against Liverpool on Saturday.
But he believes that, while he remains a winger at heart, his willingness to be versatile has helped extend his United career having been linked with moves away under the management of David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and, last season, Mourinho.
"I don't know [my best position]," Young told ESPN FC. "I'm not sure anymore.
"I still see myself as a winger because I've played there for so long. I've played as a No. 10 as well. There are so many positions and I think it's only goalkeeper and centre-half that I haven't played so far [for United].
"But wherever the manager calls upon me, I will go out there and give 100 percent and look to play well, which I think I've done this season. As a footballer, you always want to play and I wanted to be involved in more games this season. There are plenty more to play, and as long as I am playing well and the manager's happy, I want to be pulling on the shirt."
Young admitted he has been aware of the speculation surrounding his United future in recent years but claims his football brain has enabled him to evolve into a player capable of performing in a variety of roles.
"It's just determination, working hard and keeping my feet on the ground in training and keep on proving people wrong," he said. "There has been so much speculation about me leaving, over God knows how many years, but I just have to focus on playing football and being in the team.
"I'm a versatile player, can play in numerous positions and I have a good football brain, even if it is getting older. You just know where to be on the pitch, when to go forward, when to defend and that's what I've done."
Young is expected to retain his place in the United team for Tuesday's Champions League round-of-16 second leg against Sevilla at Old Trafford, with the tie well-poised following a 0-0 draw in Spain three weeks ago.
During his seven years at United, the Champions League is the only major trophy to elude Young, but he insisted that Mourinho's team can win the competition this season if they overcome Sevilla.
"We are still in the competition and we have the second leg coming up," he said. "We know it's going to be tough, but you don't enter a competition to not win it. You want to play in the biggest competitions and, for me, it's the only one that I haven't won.
"Hopefully, fingers crossed, we can get through this round and look forward to going as far as we can, getting to the final and hopefully win it. We know it's going to be tough. It's never easy in the Champions League, but you never know what can happen."
Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_