Nani happy with personal progress

Nani is convinced Manchester United are finally starting to see his true value.

As the January transfer window approached last term it seemed the Portugal winger was destined to call time on his Old Trafford career.

Although there had been flashes of the talent that persuaded Sir Alex Ferguson to link Nani with his old Sporting Lisbon team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, the 23-year-old was too often a major let down.

But almost from nowhere, Nani turned into a terror and ended the season as one of United’s key men.

Missing the World Cup due to a dislocated shoulder may have been a personal setback but the Red Devils are reaping the benefits as Nani has picked up where he left off during an impressive pre-season.

And, ahead of Sunday’s Community Shield showdown with Chelsea, Nani is revelling in his newly-acquired status.

"I feel more confident in this club," he said.

"I realise where I am and I know I am doing well.

"I am helping my team win games and important points and now I know I am very important for my team.

"Everyone is excited with me because they didn’t know if I could be the player everyone expected. Now everyone starts to believe I can be a very good player."

He knows the hard work must continue though because he feels there is still plenty in his locker still to be discovered.

"Hopefully I can do much better than last season. I am working very hard on that and I am confident.

"People saw a different player last season because I worked hard every day.

"I improved a lot but there is a lot to learn yet and I hope to start this season better than the last."

Michael Carrick will be missing from this weekend’s clash with Chelsea with an ankle injury picked up during Wednesday’s defeat of an Airtricity League XI in Dublin but Ferguson still has plenty of options at his disposal, including new striker Javier Hernandez, who has scored in each of his last three games.

"Javier is a very good player," said Nani.

"He has shown everyone he can score goals, which is good for us.

"Hopefully he can continue on Sunday because while it is important to win every game, it is always special to beat Chelsea and would be the perfect way to start the new season."