Via a posting on his official Instagram account on Friday, Manchester United winger Antony vowed to continue to do the razzle dazzle on the pitch. The 22-year-old Brazilian drew criticism from traditionalists, including some old school United club legends, after he performed a 720 degree spin with the ball on his left foot last night, during United’s 3-0 win over FC Sheriff in the UEFA Europa League competition.
“We’re known for our art and I’m not going to stop doing what got me where I am,” Antony says on IG.
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antony did that spin ? pic.twitter.com/7KtfLvSdbP
— ? (@UTDCJ_) October 27, 2022
As you can see above, Antony’s fancy footwork was fun and exciting to watch, but his very next touch saw him knock the ball out of bounds, giving people like Paul Scholes the ammunition to criticize him, and accuse him of showboating.
United manager Erik ten Hag said he would “correct” his forward, whom he also coached at Ajax prior to both of them moving to United this summer, if the trickery moves were “not functional” in the match.
Ten Hag on the Antony spin:
“When it’s functional I don’t have a problem with that. You are in the theatre of dreams, you have to entertain!” pic.twitter.com/533YaKMoaP
— Paul, Manc Bald and Bred (@MufcWonItAll) October 28, 2022
Ten Hag clearly understands that entertainment it part of his business.
“I don’t have a problem with tricks as long as it’s functional,” said the first year United gaffer. “I demand more from him — more runs behind, more often in the box and more playing in the pocket.
“When there is a trick like that, it’s nice as long as it’s functional. If you’re not losing the ball, then it’s OK — but if it’s a trick because of a trick, then I will correct him.”
Some may think that what Antony is doing is showboating, but you must remember, sports is show business, plain and simple.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.