Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Old Guard Not Ready to Stand Down ; despite Their Derby Blip, Reds Boss David Moyes Says There Is Plenty of Life in Veteran Duo Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic Yet

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Old Guard Not Ready to Stand Down ; despite Their Derby Blip, Reds Boss David Moyes Says There Is Plenty of Life in Veteran Duo Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic Yet

Article excerpt

THOROUGHBRED defenders Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are not destined for the knackers' yard after their derby torment.

Since 2006 the Anglo-Serb axis has formed the heart of the Reds' defence - and new boss David Moyes has leaned on the veteran pair to see him through the high-profile start to his Old Trafford career.

But they were taken apart at the Etihad Stadium by City in the 4- 1 derby nightmare.

Having played every single minute of United's Premier League programme up to the Manchester set-to - keeping the Reds' goals- against column to just two in four matches - the partnership was exposed by Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo.

Last term Ferdinand's form proved the back and groin injury issues that had dogged him in previous campaigns were being successfully managed as he started 31 matches.

He was, however, spared for most of early United's early Champions League group matches.

Vidic had a knee problem 12 months ago that needed surgery and saw him miss 19 matches between September and December.

He then suffered a back complaint in pre-season that kept him out of the tour of Australia and the Far East as he was advised against travelling.

And, until the derby, the pair hadn't played three matches in a week together since December 2010.

But Vidic, who will be 32 in just over three weeks, and Ferdinand, who will be 35 17 days later, are not being prepared for early retirement.

The latter is on a 12-month contract having re-signed in the summer and captain Vidic's current Old Trafford deal is up at the end of the campaign.

long-term The Serbian is likely to join the 30-something brigade on one-year deals as has been United's longterm policy. But despite being well into that over-30s category now, suffering in the derby demolition and being rested for the midweek Capital One third round win against Liverpool, Moyes hails the experienced combination.

suffer-ing "Rio and Nemanja are two top centre halves," said the United manager.

"Vida is probably the best centre half I have ever worked with. He is that good, he really is.

"Rio has also really impressed me with how fit he has been and the condition he has been in. …

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