Bright start surprises Valencia

United winger thought he would be eased in gently at Old Trafford

Valencia: Immediate impact

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Antonio Valencia admits he never envisaged making such a promising start to life at Manchester United.

The Ecuador international arrived at Old Trafford from Wigan over the summer with a £16million price tag around his neck.

Such a hefty investment from United was always going to see the tricky winger put under immediate pressure to perform.

Sir Alex Ferguson was well aware of this and the experienced Scot was tipped to ease Valencia in gradually, wary of asking for too much too soon.

However, the talented 24-year-old has made the breakthrough at United much earlier than expected and has already made over 30 appearances in all competitions this term.

He has also found the target on seven occasions and admits he is revelling in the responsibility he has been afforded by Ferguson.

Encouraged

"I thought I would be used sparingly at first and then more as I settled in at the club, but as a footballer you train hard so that you're always prepared to play," Valencia told MUTV.

"Then it's down to the manager to make the decisions, and he has given me lots of opportunities.

"I'm really enjoying my United career so far, and this is just the start."

On his impressive goal return, the South American star added: "I'm getting into the box more than ever before in my career.

"I'm encouraged to get forward and there are a lot of balls coming in from the left side, so I've been able to get to the far post and get on the end of a few crosses."