EPL: Not good enough

Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic.

Managers should never stay in a player's way if he wants to leave a club.

But I'm certain that if Sir Alex Ferguson were still in charge of Manchester United, Nemanja Vidic would still be at Old Trafford next season.

Last week, the 32-year-old defender announced his decision to leave the Premier League champions after his contract expires at the end of the season.

Apparently, it was a mutual agreement between him and manager David Moyes.

Moyes even backed the Serb's decision to leave the club, calling it the "right move" for him.

From Vidic's perspective, I agree with his decision.

He's won a ton of trophies since he arrived at Old Trafford in 2006, but obviously, the changes at the club this season have not convinced him to stay.

It's a shame, because I feel Vidic still has a lot to offer as a player.

He might have slowed down in the last couple of years, but he's the sort of player who can still command the defence and put his body on the line for the team.

NEW CHALLENGE

However, to find the passion to continue at the top level, he needs a new challenge.

Moyes, of course, must have his ideas on who he plans to bring in to replace the Serb.

He has to outsource though - I don't think there is anyone in the club right now who can step up and fill Vidic's shoes.

Rio Ferdinand is past his prime and I expect him to join Vidic in leaving United at the end of the season.

Phil Jones can't be trusted. His form has been up and down the past two seasons.

Jonny Evans has done well whenever he has played alongside Vidic in central defence, but not otherwise.

The 26-year-old still needs someone more experienced next to him.

He won't be as assuring if he plays next to someone like Chris Smalling, for example.

Evans and Smalling could grow into the role, of course.

I remember Gary Pallister had an awful first season with the club, but look at what he achieved after he settled down.

Vidic is the first of many United players whom I expect to leave the club after this season.

Several players, especially the older ones, know their time is up as well.

I'm talking about Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Luis Nani and Anderson.

Even Alexander Buttner, who despite his youth, hasn't impressed whenever he's been given the rare chance.

The critics will look at the impending exodus and say that the players are jumping a sinking ship.

I disagree.

NOT EASY

We're talking about Manchester United, the biggest club in England, next to Liverpool.

Replacing Ferguson was never going to be easy, certainly not in the first season.

If anyone other than Moyes had stepped in, they would have struggled all the same.

Moyes must be given the same time and respect Ferguson was afforded when he first took over the United hotseat.

With the old guard leaving, the Scot will be given the chance to bring in his own players.

The United manager should be judged only after next season.

npsports@sph.com.sg


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