Manchester United’s defensive fortunes have certainly taken a turn for the better in their recent games. Harry Maguire’s acquisition and subsequent naming as captain certainly has had an impact in this regard.
The entire roster have been working hard to develop a firm defensive ethos and thus their performances and numbers as an unit have benefited immensely.
This is no surprise given that the club has always enjoyed a great record at the back.
In fact, when Rio Ferdinand was asked to pick between a defender of his era and Virgil Van Dijk, the former Red Devil had a fitting answer (via Instagram Live):
“Prime Van Dijk or prime Vidic? Ooooh, good question! I’ve got to go with Vidic because he was my partner, man. He was my partner. He covered my back and I covered his. That was it.”
He goes on to clarify that the Liverpool centre-back is a brilliant player regardless, but the Nemanja Vidic connection soars ahead without doubt.
“I love Van Dijk, don’t get me wrong. I love him. Best defender in the world now, definitely. I’d love to have seen him play in our time, seen what he was about. That would have been interesting. But top player.”
This debate is one that will certainly be revisited time and time again in the seasons ahead as Van Dijk aspires to set precedents that will hope to match if not surpass that of defensive giants like Vidic and Ferdinand himself.
The numbers of the Dutch star are certainly incredible and the Champions League winning performances from last campaign and keeping Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table this season with a commanding lead certainly speak volumes about his brilliance.
However, what degree of consistency and title haul will credit an apt comparison between the two?