Manchester United have activated a clause in Antonio Valencia's contract to extend his stay at the club for another year. Valencia, 31, has been one of Jose Mourinho's most consistent performers this season having become the club's first-choice option at right-back, starting 23 games in all competitions this term.

The Ecuador international signed new three-year deal with the club in 2014, one that had the option of extending his stay with the club for another year. United have now taken that option, a move that ties the former Wigan Athletic winger to the club until 2018.

Valencia, who joined the club from the Latics in 2009, has made 271 appearances to date, winning six trophies with the club in that period. Reacting to the contract extension, he wrote on Twitter: "Another year to give everything for the greatest club in the world Manchester. Happy to announce I've renew my contract 'til 2018."

Under Mourinho, Valencia has found top form, with the United boss identifying the man he once tried to sign for Real Madrid as integral to how his team attacks the opposition.

"I am not surprised by his form this season," Mourinho said in November. "He has been clean of injuries, save for an operation on his arm that did not keep him out for long, and I have also been able to keep him fresh by resting him in certain Europa League games.

Antonio Valencia
Valencia has played an important role down the right for United this season. Getty

"I think he is the right-back to give us the maximum in terms of our attacking football."

United took similar steps with Marouane Fellaini last week, activating a clause that keeps the Belgium international at the club until the summer of 2018.

Fellaini scored his first goal of the season in the first leg of United's EFL Cup semi-final tie with Hull City last Tuesday (10 January), coming off the bench to seal a 2-0 win at Old Trafford. According to ESPN, Mourinho has made it clear Fellaini remains a part of his plans and doesn't want the club to listen to offers for the 29-year-old during the January transfer window.

United have customarily offered new players contracts that hold the option of extending by a further year with Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba among those to have signed such contracts in recent seasons.