Valencia wants operation delay

Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia – who helped the club stay top of the league with a goal at Blackburn on Monday night – is to ask the club to postpone an operation he is scheduled to undergo at the end of the season so he can play for Ecuador in their World Cup qualifiers against Argentina and Colombia in June.

Valencia, who is a contender to be United's player of the year, and who has maintained his record of never being in a losing team when he has scored for United or Wigan Athletic, is due to have a plate removed from his ankle. It was put in place following the injury Valencia suffered against Rangers two seasons ago.