Stats: Is Phil Jones up to the task of replacing Vidic at Man United?

Phil Jones crop

The former Blackburn defender has been singing the praises of the outgoing Serb, but is he good enough to fill the void left by his skipper?

Phil Jones has been speaking out about the impact that Nemanja Vidic has had on his career since the ex-Blackburn defender moved to Manchester United.

The England international stated that the Serbian centre-half had taught him a lot during their time at Old Trafford.

“It's just his all-round game. From his communication to his passing to his tackling to his heading, he's got some many great attributes,” Jones told United’s official website.

"You learn off him every day in training, even if he doesn't say anything, you just watch and learn. He's been a huge influence on my career at United and has really helped me along the way. I owe him a lot and I am grateful for everything he's done."

With Vidic leaving and Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra potentially following suit, the United defence is set to look very different next season.

Even if the outgoing Premier League champions do sign a new centre-half, Jones will be in the running to command a regular starting berth in the heart of the Red Devils’ rearguard.

But, checking with Opta statistics, has Jones done enough this season to suggest that he can replace the dominant Serb?

  TeamPosError Lead To Shot / appsError Lead To Goal / appsOutfielder Block / appsWon Tackle / appsEffective Clearance / appsInterception / appsAerial Won / apps
Nemanja Vidic Man Utd DF 0.05 0.05 0.50 0.95 10.73 1.91 4.32
Phil Jones Man Utd DF 0 0 0.54 1.75 6.13 2.21 2.13

The table above compares the defensive attributes of the respective players on an average per game basis.

The prognosis seems to be positive for United fans, with Jones outperforming Vidic in a number of areas this season.

The soon-to-be Inter defender has made more mistakes that have led to opposition goals and shots on goal, with Jones yet to make an error that allowed an opponent a direct chance all season.

The Englishman blocks slightly more shots per game, 0.54 to 0.50, while he also wins significantly more tackles.

Jones also comes up trumps in the number of interceptions per game that he makes, with 2.21 per fixture compared to Vidic’s 1.91.

The eastern European enforcer does outdo Jones in a number of areas, however.

Vidic makes significantly more effective clearances per game, while he is also more dominant in the air.

It remains to be seen just how much the stats are reflective of Vidic’s downturn in form compared to Jones’ improvement.

However, in the short-term it looks like Jones is more than capable of filling in for the departing captain next season.

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