The midfielder made only his 12th start of the season in United's 2-1 FA Cup triumph over Reading at Old Trafford on Monday. This time it has been niggling injuries that have caused his frustrations, not the big ones that have blighted Anderson's six seasons at the club.
With the potential for a starting slot against Real Madrid up for grabs in a fortnight unless Phil Jones recovers from the ankle injury that forced him off last night, Anderson can now only hope to stay fit. He said: "When I take two steps forward I seem to take three back. It is sad but I have to do my job. I need to play games and not to have any injuries."
For virtually three seasons now it has been claimed United are short of midfield firepower. Anderson has all the attributes to do the job required, but has never stayed fit long enough to do himself justice at the level Sir Alex Ferguson requires.
"I have had some problems. But when I don't have these problems I know my quality," he said. "I know I can play."
The former Porto man was at his bustling best last night, helping drive United towards a victory that keeps their treble quest on track in addition to booking a sixth round meeting with either Chelsea or Middlesbrough.
And it was an even more peripheral member of the Red Devils squad who was the catalyst. Nani arrived at virtually the same time as Anderson, and spent two years operating in the vast shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo before starting to flourish once his fellow countryman had left for Real Madrid.
This season though, the winger's chances have been strictly limited. Amid much-publicised contract wrangling, the pending arrival of Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace and interest from Zenit St Petersburg, it has been widely assumed Nani's time at Old Trafford was drawing to a close.
However, it was his contribution that tipped the balance in his side's favour against a plucky Reading outfit, scoring the first and setting up a second for Javier Hernandez to confirm that last eight berth.
"Everyone knows Nani's quality," said Anderson. "He is one of the good players in a squad full of them. The boss can change it all the time. That is the way it should be at Manchester United."
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