The Guardian have tonight reported that Rio Ferdinand’s return to the United lineup looks set to be delayed by at least two weeks. It was hoped that Rio might be fit enough to return to action time for the trip to Southampton on Sunday but that now looks off the cards. The 33-year-old veteran looks set to stay sidelined by the groin injury he sustained the weekend before the curtain raiser against Everton.
A set back to any of our defenders injuries is the last thing we need. Nemanja Vidic, for all the might and spirit he brings to the team, is quite a few games away from being at his imperious best and with makeshift centre back Michael Carrick partnering him, United’s defence looks ominously patchy.
The performance against Fulham typified that. A storming attacking display in the first half was almost undone by a second half defensive calamity including a comical own goal from Vidic. Clean sheets are not on the cards for United at the moment and having considered three goals in two games, we are not the watertight team we have been.
Ferdinand may not be the white suited spring chicken we paid big money for from Leeds any more but his performances in the tail end of last season proved that he is still one of the most intelligent defenders we have. Experience is priceless, especially for defenders, so the sooner he returns to the team the better. We need calm heads in our defence.
There have been no return dates confirmed for Ferdinand, Jones or Smalling but Evans made an appearance on the bench for the first time following his ankle surgery, so he might be in line for a return sooner rather than later.