Manchester United need a figurehead in defence to marshal the host of young defenders coming through the club’s academy, former captain Nemanja Vidic says.
United’s problems this season with injuries and indifferent performances, have led to manager Louis van Gaal handing debuts to teenage defenders Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Joe Riley, Regan Poole and Donald Love.
The relatively young backline, led by the ever-present Chris Smalling, has conceded just 30 goals in the club’s 33 Premier League games so far, only title-chasing Tottenham Hotspur have given up fewer.
“I think it’s more difficult for defenders, especially when you have three or four of them playing together in the same match… in defence, I think you need someone who can lead these young boys,” Vidic told the club’s website (www.manutd.com).
“Manchester United always need to win trophies and when the club don’t, players have to accept some criticism and that can be hard for the younger ones to take. They need some experienced players to take that weight off their backs.”
Fifth-placed United are four points behind Arsenal, who hold the final Champions League qualifying spot, with five games left. The 13-time league champions host 16th placed Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Wednesday.