Antonio Valencia will have to be on top of his game to lead Ecuador. Reuters

Antonio Valencia currently plays his club football at one of the biggest clubs in world soccer, Manchester United. He has presently made 71 appearances for his country, scoring 8 goals in the process. And in order for Ecuador to make a run at coming out of their group, he will need to be the motor behind the Ecuadorian engine.

Valencia made the move to Europe in 2005 when he left Club Deportivo El Nacional in favor of Spanish side Villarreal. After a few stints on loan to Recreativo de Huelva and Wigan Athletic, the 28-year old midfielder made the transition to Manchester United in 2009. Since moving to England, the Ecuadorian has made 130 appearances for the club, scoring a total of 13 goals.

Though Valencia will not supply the team will a multitude of goals, it is his speed and passing ability that makes him so vital to both his club and country. The former Wigan man has also been known to track back well on defense which helps his teams transition quickly on the counter attack.

Antonio Valencia is not a player that will overtly stand out. There is a reason that he has played with United for such a long time though. He is a player that always does the small things that helps teams win games. Ecuador comes into the tournament with a very solid lineup that will have to take advantage of the chances that Valencia will likely produce.

Despite having a solid squad Ecuador has been placed in a tough group featuring the likes of France (FIFA Ranking-16) and Switzerland (FIFA Ranking-6). Valencia, arguably the fastest player on the planet will have to use all of his capabilities to lead his country past two of the world’s best teams. Both Switzerland and France have to be weary though, because if Valencia plays to his full potential, the Ecuadorian team will be no walk in the park.

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