FOOTBALL NEWS

"I have a good understanding and relationship with Rooney, but also with other players like Nani, Chicharito and Welbeck."

- Antonio Valencia

12/01/2012 08:30, Report by A Bostock, S Bartram

Valencia enjoys Rooney link

Antonio Valencia is relishing the chance to rise up the assists chart after returning to his more familiar right-wing role at Manchester United.

The Ecuador international has demonstrated his versatility for the injury-hit Reds this season by filling in admirably at right-back. But now he’s moved further forward, the likes of Wayne Rooney look set to benefit – as proved by United’s important first goal against Manchester City, with Valencia crossing for the striker to head home.

“I think Wayne’s been at a good level all season, really on top form and now he’s showing again how valuable he is for us,” said Valencia, in recent praise of Rooney. “What’s great about him is that he’s very bright. He sees things very early and gives the ball quickly, so it gives you a chance to be quicker and act sharper yourself.

“But I think I have a good understanding and relationship not just with Rooney, but with other players like Nani, Chicharito and Danny Welbeck.”

Valencia pushed winner Dimitar Berbatov all the way in the running for December’s Player of the Month on ManUtd.com, after a month in which he set up seven goals.

“I think when you do manage to put in good crosses and create goals, it does give you confidence,” Valencia added, “and I feel more comfortable being back in my usual position. The manager asked me to fill in at right-back because two or three of my team-mates were injured. I was obviously happy to do that, especially when he mentioned that it was only for a brief period! But I am more comfortable in my own position.”

More: Hernandez still happy | Video: Berbatov tops monthly poll | Rooney going nowhere

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