Ashley Young's inclusion in the starting lineup for Manchester United's clash against Liverpool was the biggest surprise prior to the game, but Jose Mourinho has revealed that it was due to his experience and being "used to the responsibility of a big game".
The former Watford winger had made just two substitute appearances in the Premier League thus far and was below Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata in the pecking order for a wide attacking role. He started and completed the full 90 minutes on the left wing, while he made little impact on the attacking front, he provided added defensive cover to left-back Daley Blind when they came up against the pace of Nathaniel Clyne and Sadio Mane.
Apart from his experience the Portuguese manager credited his hard work in training from the start of pre-season another reason for his inclusion. The only game he has started this season was their 3-1 win in the EFL Cup against Northampton Town. Young could also be involved when the Red Devils take on Fenerbahce in the Europa League on Thursday with Mourinho likely to rest a number of regular first-team players in light of their visit to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea three days later on Sunday (23 October).
"Now? Because every time he plays for us he's doing his job well," Mourinho said ahead of the 0-0 draw against Liverpool, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.
"He didn't miss one training session since before the start of pre-season in July.
"He works really well. I think in the last five matches he played in four of them. Not long parts, but he played enough minutes to think he can perform," the Portuguese coach added.
The 31-year-old, who is contracted to the club until 2018, was satisfied with the hard earned point at Anfield and showed effects that come with playing the full 90 minutes in an intense game for the first time this season.
"Hard-fought point last night. Proper team effort to ensure we got something from the game. Ice bath needed today!!!" Young wrote on his official Twitter account.