England's joint top marksman in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying, scoring vital goals against Switzerland, Wales and Montenegro, Ashley Young can expect a starting berth at the finals in Poland and Ukraine. A deceptive winger with excellent balance and a stinging right-foot shot, he has prospered at Manchester United FC following his 2011 transfer from Aston Villa FC.
• Born in Stevenage, he attended the same school as Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton; joined local club Watford FC at 15 and scored on his first-team debut, at 18, in a second-tier match against Millwall FC.
• A goalless 2004/05 season was followed by a brilliant 2005/06 campaign, his 13 goals, many of them spectacular long-range efforts, helping the Hertfordshire team book a place in the Premier League following a play-off final win against Leeds United AFC.
• Adapted well to top-flight football and was transferred halfway through the 2006/07 season to Aston Villa, where he impressed in his first full term, earning a place in the official Premier League Team of the Year and winning his first three caps – all as a substitute – for England.
• Failed to make England's 2010 FIFA World Cup squad despite a consistent level of performance for Villa but was introduced for UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying; after scoring his first international goal in a February 2011 friendly away to Denmark, he became a regular in the side, his three goals playing a major part in the team's successful qualification.
• Left Villa for Manchester United in June 2011 on a five-year contract and got off to an excellent start, scoring his first two goals for the Red Devils in an 8-2 defeat of Arsenal FC and marking his UEFA Champions League debut with a last-minute equaliser during a 3-3 home draw with FC Basel 1893.
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