Manchester United are planning to take a cautious approach towards Antonio Valencia's workload this season as Jose Mourinho wants to avoid a burnout since it is certain to be another long season with the Red Devils competing on four fronts.

The Ecuadorian has established himself as United's first choice right-back since Mourinho took over at the start of last season. Moreover, Valencia, who recently extended his contract, has been given the armband in the absence of regular captain Michael Carrick.

The 32-year-old has started seven of United's 10 games this season, but has been rested for their Champions League games against Basel and CSKA Moscow with the manager keen to avoid overburdening one of his key defenders. Matteo Darmian and Ashley Young have deputised for Valencia in the European games.

It is a similar pattern from last season when the Portuguese manager used the right-back sparingly in the later stages of last season in order to keep him fresh for the key matches of their campaign. He started in United's triumphs in the League Cup and Europa League, and it was possible after he was used in just four of the Red Devils' last 10 games of last campaign.

According to the ESPN, the decision has been made in consultation with the club's coaches and medical staff following data analysts' observation that his statistics were dropping in the later stages of a grueling 2016/17 campaign which spanned 64 games owing to United's journey in the two cup competitions of which Valencia played 43 games.

Antonio Valencia
Antonio Valencia has been handed the armband in the absence of Michael CarrickGetty

Besides, Valencia's involvement with the Ecuador national team sees him travelling long distances during the course of the campaign which adds to his workload. The United defender is currently on international break and after their second game against Argentina in Quito on Tuesday (10 October) he will be travelling 9,000 km back to Manchester for their trip to Anfield on Saturday to take on arch rivals Liverpool.