Antonio Valencia Manchester United 2016Getty Images

Mourinho: Valencia is the best right-back in the world

Jose Mourinho believes that Manchester United right-back Antonio Valencia is the best in his position in world football.

The Ecuadorian has emerged as one of the first names on the team-sheet under Mourinho at Old Trafford, despite having only been converted into a full-back in 2015.

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Valencia recently signed a new deal at Old Trafford to take him through to 2018 and his manager does not think there is a better right-sided defender in the game.

When asked if Valencia's form was the reason for his new deal, Mourinho told MUTV: "I don’t think it is a reward, I don't see it in this perspective. I just think he is the best right-back you can have.

"There is no better right-back in football. It is just for us to keep the best. I don't think it is a reward. It is a privilege for us to have such a good player and such a good man."

The United manager also reiterated that he wanted to sign Valencia for Real Madrid and that he thinks that he is currently playing the best football of his career.

Mourinho added: “He was not playing at right-back [at the time Mourinho wanted him at Madrid]. Yes, I wanted him to play at right-back.

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"But Manchester United was intelligent and strong, and immediately stopped any feeling about any possibility.

"Antonio is playing better than ever, I think. This season he is playing magnificently.”

Valencia has made 23 starts in all competitions for United in the 2016-17 campaign, with the 31-year-old set to feature as Mourinho's men face Stoke City on Saturday.