Welcome to our Ashley Young 2020/21 report card. As part of our post-season coverage, we’ll be dishing out grades and analyzing every Inter player’s season.
In two seasons at Inter, Antonio Conte managed to bring seven various wing-backs to the club. The imports met varying levels of success, ranging from Achraf Hakimi’s electric debut season to an early loan departure for Valentino Lazaro. For the most part, however, the wingback situation fluctuated from mediocre to good. The “not great, not bad” nature was perhaps best personified by Ashley Young’s eighteen months in Lombardy.
Position: Left wing-back
Games Played: 34 (23 starts, 1976 minutes)
What went right this season?
While he didn’t set the league afire, Young’s debut campaign in Italy was a success. He notched four goals and four assists in eighteen games after a January move from Manchester United. Young’s first full season wasn’t quite as solid, however, and age began to take its toll on the veteran. Even so, when at his best he offered Conte a technically skilled threat on the flank. Young was 4th on Inter in completed crosses and had the 7th most passes into the box; he also created 2.15 shots per 90 on average and had four assists. You could see the thinking behind the Englishman’s signing on those occasions but unfortunately, they didn’t appear near as often enough.
In a rare post-new year start, Young scored the opening goal in the season finale against Udinese. A brave lunge towards a loose ball was rewarded with the first goal of the season for the 35-year-old.
What does he need to improve on?
Young fell down the wingback pecking order in January thanks to Ivan Perisic’s remarkable upswing in form, though Young didn’t do himself by favors either. He conceded sloppy penalties against Torino and Juve (in the Coppa) and was taken advantage of defensively on several occasions. Going forward, Young would disappear from games for long stretches and didn’t pose a question to the opposition defense on a consistent basis. Young’s deficiencies can be masked against weaker sides, though, and his cameo against Udinese showed he still has something left in the tank.
What role will he play in 2021/22?
Young will be 36 by the start of next season and has a contract expiring this summer. The Englishman’s wage is one of the higher ones on Inter as well and he’s been suited by Watford. Even so, recent reports are indicating a one-year extension could be on the cards, albeit at a salary cut. If Hakimi and Perisic leave this summer, Inter will be in need of wingback depth and Young has shown himself more or less capable of that job. It wouldn’t be a flashy move but the lack of general funds may force Inter to keep Young around one more season.