Nani happy with Young pretender

Manchester United winger says he can handle competition from Ashley Young after losing place last season.

    Nani had lost his place to Park Ji-sung, right, and Antonio Valencia even before the arrival of Ashley Young [EPA]

    Manchester United winger Nani has no plans to quit the English champions, following the signing of Ashley Young last week and having missed out on a starting place in the European Champions League final defeat to Barcelona.

    Nani said watching the Wembley final from the bench was "boring".

    But the Portuguese added that he was looking forward to meeting his new teammate amid speculation in the media that he would leave.
    "Of course I have to welcome everyone they sign, I think Man United is a fantastic club. When they bring in new players, they know if it is good for the team or not, and this (Young signing) has to help them," Nani said in the suite of his hotel in Singapore.
    The 24-year-old explained that his experiences competing with the world's most expensive player, Cristiano Ronaldo, for a place in the Portugal lineup and previously in the United first team meant he was not concerned by the prospect of reduced appearances following Young's arrival.

    "I've been there (at United) when Cristiano was there, Cristiano was one of the best players in the world. At that moment (I had no) worries about him (taking my place)," Nani said of his prolific countryman, who joined Real Madrid in 2009.

    The Portuguese began last season in scintillating form before tailing off and losing his place in the side to Antonio Valencia for the 3-1 defeat by Barcelona last month.
    Former South Korean international Park Ji-sung also started the Wembley final on the flank ahead of Nani.

    Young signed from Aston Villa last week [GALLO/GETTY]

    "It was boring because you want to play, everyone wants to play," Nani said.

    "The finals are for playing but the manager makes the decision and he knows who is better for the team and I have to respect that."
    He did, however, come on for the last 20 minutes to replace Brazilian defender Fabio and witnessed first-hand the level that United need to reach if they are to lift the European title for a fourth time.
    "(Barcelona) are the best team," he said.

    "They are not unbeatable, maybe a different game we can beat them, you never know. A game is a game and you never know what is going to happen."

    Nani, relaxing in flip flops and shorts after enjoying a few days rest in Singapore, acknowledged that tiredness may have been a factor in manager Alex Ferguson's decision to drop him for the final.
    "Last season I played more games than ever at Man Utd, that's why maybe in the last games I didn't look the same as in the first games.

    "Now I'm on holiday for some rest, get my power back, at the start of the season I will be fine to start strong again, start to do what I know."

    Nani was also in the southeast Asian city state to help promote the Peter Lim Scholarship scheme for the Singapore Olympic Foundation.

    Lim, who failed in his bid to buy United's arch-rivals Liverpool last year and who owns a number of United supporter bars in Singapore, invited Nani to talk to school children about his difficult upbringing, where money was tight and luxuries unheard of, and the hard work needed to reach the top.

    Tevez moan

    Nani's desire to return to Manchester for pre-season training appears in contrast to his former United teammate Carlos Tevez.

    Last month Manchester City's Argentine striker Tevez bemoaned life in Manchester and complained of homesickness and poor weather.
    The Portuguese said he shared some of Tevez's thoughts on life in Manchester but that he was not there to enjoy the surroundings.
    "I think for football it is the best place to live, if you want to be a very good professional and you want to be successful," said Nani.
    "It's there where you have to live because there aren't many distractions, you can always focus on your job and good conditions to work, it's good."

    Nani said he was also looking forward to teasing teammate and England striker Wayne Rooney, who has had a hair transplant to combat baldness.

    "I will see and then after I will write something," he laughed when asked if he would join United captain Rio Ferdinand in poking fun at Rooney on Twitter.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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