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‘Shameless’ Antony embodies everything wrong with Man Utd

Antony
Manchester United survived a scare of monumental proportions at Wembley on Sunday. After inexplicably blowing a 3-0 lead in their FA Cup semi-final tie against Coventry, they were a “toenail” from crashing out of the competition right at the end of extra-time, with VAR controversially ruling that Haji Wright was offside before providing the cross for Victor Torp to tap home from close-range.

It would have been arguably the greatest upset, and collapse, in the 153-year history of the FA Cup, and no less than the Championship side deserved. But United did eventually get over the line, edging the subsequent penalty shootout 4-2, with Rasmus Hojlund coolly dispatching their decisive fifth spot-kick.

Hojlund was understandably experiencing an adrenaline rush as he ran over to celebrate in front of the United fans, but it was more out of relief than anything else. And when the Danish striker turned around, most of his team-mates were rightly too ashamed to go over and congratulate him.

‘Most shameless flop ever to grace our league’

Antony’s antics after United’s shootout win didn’t go down well with former Crystal Palace star Clinton Morrison, who said on BBC Five Live: “But that’s him. That’s him as a player. He needs to worry about his own job instead of Coventry because some of his performances this season show he could be playing in the Championship next season.”

Aston Villa’s all-time record goalscorer Gabby Agbonlahor went a step further on X, suggesting Antony may be “the most shameless flop ever to grace our beautiful league”, before labelling him a “prat” who wouldn’t even get into Coventry’s starting XI.

It would certainly be a huge surprise if any Premier League suitors came forward for Antony this summer. If the 24-year-old is to be sold, as widespread reports suggest, United will have to accept a major loss on their initial investment, despite the fact he is still under contract until 2027, because they won’t have any bargaining power.

Incredible lack of self-awareness

Antony scored in each of his first three Premier League games, a feat no other new United player has ever managed, after following Ten Hag to Old Trafford from Ajax in the summer of 2022. That only briefly silenced the critics who had slammed the club for paying way above market value to sign the Brazil international, though, as he went on to finish the season with just four league goals, infuriating supporters with his predictable style of play and lack of end product.

It would have been harsh to judge him after just one full campaign, as it can often take foreign players a bit longer to settle into a new environment, but there has been no hiding place for him in 2023-24. In 34 appearances across all competitions, Antony has registered just four goal contributions, and has yet to find the net in the Premier League.

United placed the Brazil international on a leave of absence in September after he was accused of domestic violence by his ex-girlfriend Gabriela Cavallin, and he has since struggled to even earn a place in Ten Hag’s line up. Indeed, Antony has started only two of United’s last 14 games, with Alejandro Garnacho taking his place on the right flank in the majority of those outings.

No signs of improvement

Antony’s most impactful moment as a United player to date came in their thrilling FA Cup quarter-final clash with Liverpool at Old Trafford, as he netted a stunning 87th-minute equaliser to force extra-time. There didn’t appear to be much on when Antony received the ball with his back to goal some 12 yards out, as he was swarmed by Liverpool defenders, but he swivelled smartly before firing a low right-footed shot into the far corner, catching everyone in the stadium off guard.

Although it was undeniably a superb piece of improvisation, Antony’s reputation as a one-trick pony preceded him, and Liverpool clearly didn’t expect him to let fly from his weaker side. “I have been working silently to evolve and show my football on the field,” he said after United’s eventual 4-3 triumph. “I have also been training my right foot, to make it better. I know my potential and I know why Manchester hired me.”

Unfortunately, Antony has since provided no further evidence of that extra work on the training pitch. It was clearly a one-off, because he’s still constantly cutting in on his left foot and wasting promising United attacks due to his reluctance to attack his marker or deliver early balls with his right.

Source – ‘Shameless’ Antony embodies everything wrong with Man Utd – Brazilian flop must be first to go in summer transfer window | Goal.com