Monday, August 15, 2011

Ashley Young

Ashley Young Tribute 2007-8
Ashley Simon Young (born 9 July 1985) is an English footballer who plays as a winger for Manchester United and the English national team. Born and raised in Hertfordshire, Young started his career at Watford, making his first senior appearances in 2003 under the management of Ray Lewington. He became a first-team regular in 2004–05, and was one of Watford's key players in their promotion winning 2005–06 season. Young continued to play well for Watford in the Premier League, and in January 2007 he transferred to Aston Villa for a fee of £8 million, rising to £9.65 million with add-ons. He established himself in the first team at Villa Park, and has since earned 15 caps for England, scoring twice. On 23 June 2011, Young signed for Manchester United for an undisclosed fee.
Despite having been turned away by Watford's Academy after an unsuccessful spell, Young endeavoured to improve himself as a player and was eventually offered a professional deal by the club. The 18-year-old was handed his first team début under Ray Lewington in September 2003, scoring as a substitute against Millwall. He achieved five substitute appearances that season, scoring three goals, and made his first start for the club in the League Cup. Young came to prominence in the 2004–05 season, playing a part in 34 of Watford's league matches as they struggled to survive in the Championship. Although he failed to find the net, his performance during this season earned him the club's Young Player of the Season award.
Under Aidy Boothroyd in the 2005–06 season, Young was given a new lease of life as a striker and right winger. Young started 41 League matches, finding the net 15 times, including a playoff semi-final goal against Crystal Palace, as Watford qualified for the playoffs and eventually beat Leeds United 3–0 to gain promotion to the Premier League.
Young began Watford's 2006–07 Premier League season well, scoring three times, including a last minute, long-range strike against Fulham. In the January 2007 transfer window, three clubs made £5 million offers for the Under-21 International. Watford rejected these approaches, as well as (as of 12 January 2007) an offer of £7 million, again from an unnamed club

An improved offer of nearly £10 million from West Ham United was accepted. However, Young rejected the move, opting to wait for offers from clubs for whom relegation was not an issue.
On 18 January 2007, Aston Villa had an £8 million offer (rising to £9.75 million with add-ons), accepted—the club's record transfer fee. This allowed manager Martin O'Neill and the Aston Villa board to discuss personal terms with the player. Two days later O'Neill confirmed the player had agreed to join the club. Young underwent a medical on 21 January and the signing was confirmed on 23 January 2007. On 31 January, he scored in his debut for Villa at St James' Park against Newcastle United, but Villa went on to lose 3–1.Ashley Young started the 2007–08 season well, receiving several Man of the Match awards. The good start was highlighted by his call-up to the England Squad.
In the 2007–08 Premier League season, Young finished second to Cesc Fàbregas in assists with 17.[13] Young was included in the Premier League Team of the Year, and apart from Portsmouth's David James, he was the only other player who did not come from any of the 'Big Four' (Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United) to make it into the best XI of the season. He is known for his pace, set pieces and ability to pass and shoot. He is also well known for cutting back onto his right foot and 'whipping' the ball into the penalty area.
On 20 April 2008, Young scored 2 goals and assisted two goals for Aston Villa against Birmingham City at Villa Park and Villa went on to win the game 5–1. He also scored the winner against Danish side Odense Boldklub in Villa's home leg of the Intertoto Cup 3rd round. On 10 October 2008 Young won the Player of the Month award. This was due to his performances in the 2008–2009 Premier League season. Having also won the award in April 2008, Young joins the list of players who have won the award more than once including Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard. On 7 December 2008 in the 3–2 win over Everton, Young scored two goals, one being an injury time winner after Everton's Joleon Lescott had equalised seconds earlier putting his tally for the season up to five. Manager Martin O'Neill later described the player as being 'world-class' in the post-match press conference. Ashley Young signed a new four-year contract until 2012 on the 4 November 2008. On 10 January 2009 Young was again awarded Player of the Month for December along with O'Neill , who won the Manager of the Month award. He became the first ever player to win three FA Premiership Player of the Month awards in the same year.During a match against Sunderland on 18 January 2009, Young was sent off for a two-footed foul on Sunderland's Dean Whitehead.

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