Young right-back Olosunde admits Valencia has become an inspiration at Man United

The American right-back joined Man Utd in early 2016 and travelled with the first team for matches against Arsenal and Spurs at the end of last season.

Young right-back Olosunde admits Valencia has become an inspiration at Man United
Olosunde against Tottenham at under-23 level | Photo: NurPhoto via Getty Images

Young Manchester United right-back Matt Olosunde admitted that Antonio Valencia is an inspiration to him after the Ecuadorian was named Players' Player of the Year last month.

Olosunde was involved with the Reds' travelling first team squad on a number of occasions in the final weeks of the season, but failed to make any of the matchday squads and therefore his debut.

However, having joined in early 2016, it's a motivation for Olosunde to continue working hard.

Olosunde: "You just think 'wow!" when with the first team

Speaking to the club's official website, the young American, born in New Jersey and a former-New York Red Bulls player, said, "I'm very happy with how the season has gone.

"Just travelling with the first team was a big thing for me. It's a lot different when you are actually with them. You just think 'wow'!"

Senior members of the first team squad have been known to be hugely helpful to youngsters breaking through at United, with Michael Carrick said to have personally helped 16-year-old Angel Gomes who made his debut against Crystal Palace to become the club's fifth youngest ever player.

Olosunde echoed that sentiment, describing them as 'friendly' and explaining that they "talk to you to try to help you out."

"I would have loved to be involved in the matchday squad but it's good knowing, eventually, I could get my chance and I will just need to take it."

Olosunde isn't a natural right-back. Like Demi Mitchell, another to make their debut against Palace in the final league game of the season, Olosunde is a far more attacking player than a traditional full-back. It often appears that he is more suited to playing on the right-wing. However, he's making progress defensively and still offers a huge threat bombing down the right flank. 

"I feel really comfortable at right-back and have done pretty well. I feel like I know my surroundings and have my bearings so I feel good when I'm out with the players on the pitch."

Valencia a 'real inspiration'

An obvious comparison is Valencia, United's most consistent player of the 2016/17 season. "He is a real inspiration," Olosunde told ManUtd.com.

"Bombing forward but also being great defensively. I really look up to him. When I watch him play, I just think I appreciate he's a great player and a great marking point to reach for. He's a big guy and so strong.

"It's a very demanding game so Mark Hulse [the club's athletic development coach] works with us a lot and tries to build us up, strengthening us to be able to play at the highest level.

Olosunde will hope another first team chance comes next season, but he revealed he's heading back to hometown New Jersey before pre-season begins in July.

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