The news earlier today that Nemanja Vidic is set to miss 2 months of football following another operation on the injured knee that kept him out of the majority of last season left a lot of United fans gutted. The return of Vidic was one that was eagerly awaited by United fans and now, just a few games into the season, we have to set up shop without him again. Many have suggested that Jonny Evans is more than capable of stepping into Vidic’s shoes, something I think he’s capable of doing, but it’s certainly still a big blow to see Nemanja out for a while again.
It’s probably not surprising that, on the day that the news of Vidic’s injury was released, the man that many see as his long-term replacement has been praising another young member of the team and claiming he’s good enough for a chance in the first team. Jonny Evans was excellent last season and, as a product of the youth academy himself, has tipped centre back Michael Keane to make his mark on the first team if all goes his way. With Vidic’s injury and the Carling Cup tomorrow, you can certainly imagine Keane having some sort of role to play in the short future.
Evans originally spoke of his pride at being the captain in the Carling Cup last year, even though we lost to Crystal Palace – saying “It was an honour to be captain but we lost that game. It was quite a young side we had out that night but I’m sure the manager will juggle it and make sure he picks a team that can win the tie” – but then specifically spoke of Keane who he says has impressed him in training.
“I’ve been really impressed with young Michael Keane,” Evans said. “I think his brother has been getting more of the headlines over the last couple of years. Will’s also a fantastic player but obviously he’s got an injury at the minute. I’ve been really impressed with Michael when he’s stepped up into training with us and I can see him getting a bit of a run-out if things go well.”
It will be nice to see Keane get a run out in the Carling Cup match against Newcastle tomorrow, but with Vidic out for another prolonged period I think it’s sensible that Evans is rested, alongside Rio Ferdinand, for the more important games. Injuries to both Chris Smalling and Phil Jones add to our problems and I think for the time being we just have to focus on keeping the likes of Evans and Rio for important competitions like the Premier League and the European Cup.
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