Pundit spots under-the-radar Antony trait that he ‘really admired’ and which proves Man Utd progress

Antony of Man Utd, September 2022

Antony will go far in a Manchester United shirt if he continues to put in as much defensive work as he did against Arsenal, one pundit believes.

The £84million summer arrival from Ajax made a flying start to life at Old Trafford last weekend. Following a debut goal in the Premier League against Arsenal, he has got tongues wagging about his potential.

There is, of course, a lot for 22-year-old Antony to live up to. He has added a new dimension to an attack in which Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Elanga are striving to prove themselves too.

As a result, manager Erik ten Hag – who got the best out of Antony at Ajax and convinced the Glazers to spend big to get him – wants the full package from his squad.

According to former manager Alex McLeish, Antony has shown all the signs of keeping Ten Hag’s undivided faith.

“This is exactly what I said, he had to hit the ground running,” McLeish told Football Insider.

“I will tell you what, he showed a lot of personality and character in the game. You saw him celebrating with the badge when he scored.

“It’s as if he has been at Man United all his life, he knows the history of that club. What a start.”

McLeish added that the bond between Antony and Ten Hag will only get stronger if the pair carry on as they are.

Antony impressing at Man Utd

“The thing I really admired was his tracking back,” McLeish added of the Brazil World Cup hopeful.

“He was doubling up with the full-backs and the midfielders on his side, I was thinking ‘good on you son’.

“He is playing for the coach. For him to score a goal with that beautiful finish was outstanding. He has done the first part of living up to that transfer fee.”

Antony made his second Man Utd appearance against Real Sociedad in Thursday’s Europa League group stage defeat.

The winger played 70 minutes but could not make it two goals in two games and came off for Jadon Sancho.

It is a first blip in five games for Ten Hag, who had instilled progress in his team with four Premier League wins in a row.

United need to remain focused

United lost 1-0 to Real Socidead through a second-half penalty and it was in many ways a frustrating result given the statistics.

The hosts had more possession and more shots, but the same number of shots on target. And that is where United fell down, having seven shots blocked.

Nevertheless, Ten Hag has shown early signs of progression and he must look to continue that in the next game.

The fact that Antony has hit the ground running in a Man Utd shirt is only good for the competition.

Rashford and Sancho have also enjoyed solid starts to the campaign but know they must stay in top form for further chances to arrive.

Sociedad are, on paper, Man Utd’s toughest opponent in their Europa League group stage. They will hope to banish the demons that occurred in that game and get back on track in Europe.

In the Premier League, they have to focus and learn from what went right against Arsenal and push on from there.