Vidic eager to set example
Published 07/01/2011 | 07:52
Nemanja Vidic is acutely aware of the need to take the Manchester United armband seriously.
The Serbian was Sir Alex Ferguson's surprise choice as skipper at the start of the season, handed the job ahead of Rio Ferdinand once the United boss had decided to remove the honour from Gary Neville due to the fact he was no longer a regular starter.
"I feel very proud," he told Inside United. "It came as a bit of a surprise. The manager said he wanted someone who would play regularly but I know it is a big honour."
He added: "I haven't changed anything in particular. But you do have to think about your responsibilities; your behaviour, the way you play, the way you train. I know that I need to set a good example, on and off the pitch."
There have been few problems for Vidic on that score this season as, by common consent, he has been one of United's better performers in a campaign which, despite not seeing them at their best, looks increasingly likely to end with them being crowned champions for a record 19th time.
The side they would depose - and the one that seems to have caused Vidic most problems down the years - are their next opponents.
However, Liverpool will head down the East Lancs Road in a shambolic state, their season imploding, their manager apparently about to be sacked, and no obvious way of them reclaiming that coveted top-four berth that was theirs for so long.
All this is greeted with mirth on the Stretford End, who will be eager that United do not suffer the kind of aberration that saw them dumped out of the FA Cup third round last season for the first time since 1984.
Even Ferguson learned valuable lessons from that defeat to Leeds, which is why he has stated Liverpool can expect to be facing a strong home line-up, which both Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand might return to as the quest for more silverware begins.
"I want the next few years to be as successful as the last few," said Vidic, who knows the FA Cup remains strangely absent from his mantelpiece. I am still hungry to do well."