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'I wouldn't take Van Dijk over any of Man United's centre-backs,' says Vidic

The former Red Devils defender is delighted with the players in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s back line.

Vidic would not take the Dutch centre back over any of United's current options.
Vidic would not take the Dutch centre back over any of United's current options.

NEMANJA VIDIC INSISTED he would not swap any of Manchester United’s defenders for Virgil van Dijk or his Liverpool team-mates, while praising Victor Lindelof for displaying “character” to turn around his form.

United led the Premier League with 19 clean sheets in 2017-18 yet their goal has been breached in all but six of their 26 games to date this term.

Despite that, Sweden international Lindelof has received plaudits as one of United’s better performers, the 24-year-old establishing himself at the heart of the club’s defence after a difficult first season at Old Trafford.

Vidic, who spent eight years at United between 2006 and 2014, also took some time to find his feet in England before forming a formidable partnership with Rio Ferdinand.

The Serbian has been impressed by how Lindelof has responded to his own early struggles and feels United’s current centre-back options are as strong as their Premier League rivals’ defenders.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester United v Liverpool - Old Trafford Vidic shared many memorable battles with Liverpool during his time at Old Trafford. Source: EMPICS Sport

“I think [Lindelof] had a difficult time in the beginning,” Vidic said “Well done to him to come back. It’s not easy, especially playing for Man United, big club, to not start that well and have criticism from the media.

“To come back from that and now perform well, it shows some character as well, which is important if you want to play for Man United.

“He has some quality definitely. He has done really well. I think Phil Jones did well in the recent games he played, Chris Smalling is a good defender, [Eric] Bailly as well.

I think we have four solid defenders and with the right match I think they can perform to the best of their capabilities.

“Overall, I said even before when they didn’t have great games, if you look at the other teams, I would not have any defenders of Liverpool or Chelsea, I don’t think they have better defenders than we have.

“I think now the team is playing better, they have more confidence and there will come even better matches from them.”

Liverpool are the side with the most clean sheets in the Premier League this term, their 14 two more than title rivals Manchester City’s 12.

Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester United - Premier League - AMEX Stadium Vidic has been impressed by Victor Lindelöf this season. Source: EMPICS Sport

The presence of Virgil van Dijk at the heart of their defence is a big reason for that and though Vidic has been impressed by the £75 million man, he noted praise is easier to come by for defenders when the whole team is performing well.

I think he’s doing a great job – he’s strong physically, he’s fast, he’s a presence on the pitch,” Vidic added of Van Dijk.

“He’s a great defender, top defender, but I’m saying when teams are doing well, everyone gets recognition.

“I know that because I played for Man United and when you’re doing well, when you’re scoring goals, [getting] a few clean sheets, straight away people start talking about how good you are.” 

Murray Kinsella, Andy Dunne and Gavan Casey look ahead to Ireland’s Six Nations meeting with Italy and discuss the week’s biggest stories in the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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