Nemanja Vidic has been told by David Moyes that he must fight to regain his place in Manchester United’s starting XI following an injury he picked up in the 1-0 defeat at home to Newcastle.
The United captain has missed back-to-back wins against Shakhtar Donetsk and Aston Villa respectively in games that have also seen the team keep successive clean sheets for only the second time this season.
Jonny Evans played alongside Rio Ferdinand and Phil Jones in those games and the Northern Ireland star is expected to remain in Moyes’ starting line-up for the foreseeable future, something Moyes wants Vidic to take on board.
“Nemanja is just about ready to play now,” he said ahead of the Stoke game.
“There is competition for places there and you are going to have to play well to stay in the team.”
The Serbian is widely considered to be United’s strongest centre-half despite injury problems limiting his playing time in recent years.
However, with the team leaking goals this season, Moyes has taken to trying out different combinations at the back which has left Nemanja and fellow veteran Rio Ferdinand on the bench a lot after their heavy involvement at the start of the season.
Moyes is right to let Vidic know that he isn’t guaranteed a starting spot because Evans, Jones and Smalling have all played excellent in the centre back role.
Right now, the team is in a good run of form defensively so there is no need to change something that isn’t broken but as it is the Capital One Cup today, Vidic and Ferdinand could get a chance to show why they deserve to start in the Premier League.