Why Manchester United must wrap Vidic up in cotton wool

Manchester United have been boosted by the news that captain Nemanja Vidic has declared himself fully fit following the 1-1 draw against AIK last night.

The friendly gave Vidic the opportunity to test his fitness ahead of the Community Shield clash against Wigan and there would have definitely been a few worries over how he would react.

It was the first time Vidic has played under new boss David Moyes and the current state of his fitness removes one of the smaller headaches the United manager would have had heading into the new season.

Vidic has struggled over the last couple of seasons with niggling injuries, which have kept him out of the United team, with the knock on effects being felt by the defence, especially last season when the attack had to routinely bail out the back four.

“I am pleased that I have 90 minutes under my belt. It's a long time since I've played a full game. I am pleased with that and I hope that after this game I can pick up my fitness and I will be ready for the beginning of the season,” Vidic told MUTV.

The issue now for David Moyes is going to be keeping him fit and resisting the temptation to do anything which could threaten his fitness.

The temptation will be to play him in every single game because in terms of players who embody the ideal qualities of a centre back, he’s still one of the very best in global football.

However, he’s now the wrong side of his 30s and every knock he picks up from now on is going to take a little bit of extra time to go away, increasing his recovery time and unfortunately the periods where he is unavailable.

Wrapping players up in cotton wool is a phrase which gets passed around a lot in football but it’s never been more appropriate than with the case of the United skipper.

“It's frustrating when you don't get the games. I've done some good training but it's different when you're playing a match. I got 90 minutes tonight and we have two more games before the start of the league season. Hopefully I can get another 90 minutes before then,” he added.

Fortunately Moyes has been in English football for long enough to know that the frustration Vidic has felt before and that ambition he has to drive the team and lead them requires a balance.

United have a very large squad, filled with talented young defensive players who can all do a very solid job in Premier League, Champions League and domestic football.

Vidic’s experience is vital but Moyes mustn’t risk him other than for the matches where his skills and experience are going to be crucial in terms of getting United over the line.

The fact United have so many huge matches at the start of the season elevates the importance that Vidic is back to full fitness because they will need him during those games, as teams look to knock United off the perch.

How important do you think a fully fit Vidic is?

image: © nasmac

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