Date:8th July 2012 at 11:25am
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England coach and Manchester United legend Gary Neville believes that Antonio Valencia fully deserved to be awarded the #7 shirt.

The shirt holds legendary status, with luminaries such as George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo having all worn it previously.

The shirt was left vacant after Michael Owen’s departure, and with new signing Shinji Kagawa opting not to take it, Antonio Valencia is now the custodian.

Valencia was machine-like in the title run in last season after a patchy start and whilst some questioned his signing back in 2009, he has gone on to prove his worth numerous times throughout his United career and is now arguably one of our most influential players.

Gary Neville is a fan, and having played behind the winger believes that he was as good a candidate for the shirt as any, as he told ManUtd.Com:

“He’s been a fantastic signing for United and thoroughly deserves that no.7 shirt.

“Having played with him for a year or two, I can tell you he’s a brilliant footballer, especially to play behind as a right-back. He does the right things at the right time, he works back to help out when you don’t have the ball, he delivers good crosses and he can beat a man.

“He’s a real handful to play against and I was really pleased to see him score a few more goals last season. That’s probably the only area of the game in which you’d like to see an improvement.

“He has a wonderful shot and he stays calm under pressure. I’d love to see him chip in with 10 or 15 goals this season – he’s more than capable of doing that.”