Fergie aware of threat to stalwarts
Sir Alex Ferguson believes Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are well aware of the threat to their Manchester United places posed by the three young defenders he has introduced to the team this season.
Ferguson has admitted he faces a major selection dilemma ahead of Saturday's trip to Liverpool, with Vidic now recovered from the calf strain he suffered in the opening Barclays Premier League game at West Brom, while Ferdinand will be hopeful of a recall after being consigned to bench duty against Norwich before the international break.
"Rio and Nemanja are well aware they are going to have to play well to keep their places," said Ferguson who has seen Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans press their claims impressively this term. "Competition is so fierce now with these young lads coming through."
For Ferdinand, there is the added complication of his place in Fabio Capello's Euro 2012 squad being in doubt. His failure to oust Jones and Evans from the team that faced Norwich looked to be central to Capello's thinking when he was omitted from the squad to face Montenegro last week.
Ferdinand still wants to represent his country. But Ferguson concedes Capello might well be looking at an alternative strategy now.
"Rio is back to his best form," said the Scot. "He has trained really well and his experience will be vital. The England thing is unfortunate because he missed a couple of appearances through injury and maybe Fabio is looking to the future. Some managers think that way. There is nothing wrong that."
Ferdinand now has to prove his worth for United and hope for an England recall for next month's friendly clashes against Spain and Sweden.
Vidic has none of those Euro 2012 concerns after Serbia were eliminated in midweek thanks to their shock defeat in Slovenia, when the United skipper missed a penalty. The 29-year-old has still to decide whether to quit international football such is his disappointment.
However, the match itself might just have given Vidic a chance of being involved at Anfield given the time he has spent on the sidelines.
"I spoke to Nemanja yesterday and it was probably the right type of game to come back in," said Ferguson. "He had to get a game sometime. He was training very well before that game and has come back feeling fine."