Kevin Kilbane explains why he will always have "total admiration" for Manchester United's Antonio Valencia

The right back played with Kilbane at Wigan Athletic

Kevin Kilbane, Wigan, Antonio Valencia

Wigan Athletic's Antonio Valencia celebrates scoring the fourth goal of the game with Kevin Kilbane. Picture by Gareth Copley PA Archive/PA Images

After a tough period marked by injuries and getting accustomed to a positional change from winger to right back, Antonio Valencia's value to Manchester United in the Jose Mourinho era has become abundantly clear.

On Tuesday morning, the Ecuador international was rewarded with a contract extension that will take him up to the end of the 2017-18 season.

Off The Ball's Kevin Kilbane played with the 31 year old at Wigan Athletic between 2006 and 2009 and the former Ireland international spoke about why he has the utmost respect for his former team-mate, describing Valencia as a "fabulous player". 

"It's never really been reported about Antonio but he was basically brought up in extreme poverty," said Kevin.

"No education, brought over to England from Villarreal. Paul Jewell brought him from Villarreal and someone saw him, I think it was the 2006 World Cup. 

"He couldn't speak English at all, and that was down to his education. He couldn't fathom it out. So we had an interpreter with us at Wigan for such a long time, who used to sit in the dressing room.

"So you imagine, you have Paul Jewell there who used to 'eff and 'jeff and everything at us. And he used to interpret everything back of Paul Jewell's team talk to Antonio in the corner. So he'd be whispering to Antonio in [his] language.

"What he's done in his life, Antonio, is just exceptional. And I've got total admiration for him."

Valencia left Wigan for Manchester United in 2009 for £16 million and has gone on to make more than 250 appearances for the club in all competitions.

He has been capped 87 times for Ecuador and has played at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.