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Antonio Valencia named in Ecuador's World Cup squad

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Another Red Devil is on his way to Brazil.

Mike Stobe

Ecuador have named their provisional 30-man World Cup squad, and Manchester United's Antonio Valencia is in it. That doesn't come as a surprise -- despite his domestic troubles Valencia is captain of his national side and an instrumental part of their starting 11, which usually places a heavy emphasis on pacey wing-play.

It's easy to forget quite how good Valencia was when he was at his very best a few seasons ago. Quick, extremely powerful and one of the best crossers in the Premier League, he was, to use that hackneyed old cliché, a classic United player. Alas, he now seems oddly reluctant to take his man on, often backing out altogether and rolling the ball back to a full-back or midfielder. When he does get into a crossing position, it's rarely accurate.

It'd be fantastic to see him back to his best, and, at 28, he's still got enough time to physically reach his peak. Let's hope he can show some form away from the grind of the Premier League, and get himself into Louis van Gaal's reckoning. A good performance in La Tri's friendly against the Netherlands on Saturday could certainly do that.