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UEFA Champions League Final Special: Manchester United Defenders

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HOUSTON - JULY 28:  Manchester United poses for a team photo prior to the MLS All Star Game at Reliant Stadium on July 28 2010 in Houston Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - JULY 28: Manchester United poses for a team photo prior to the MLS All Star Game at Reliant Stadium on July 28 2010 in Houston Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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Today we will continue the introductions of Manchester's players. In Part One we looked at goalkeepers and now we will start with the position players, more precisely defenders. Sir Alex Ferguson has used many different back four combination, but most of them had two thing in common. Nemanja Vidić was playing in the heart of the defense while Patrice Evra maned the left side.

Those two are expected to start against Barcelona in the final, but who will the other two be depends mostly on health status. Take a look at who SAF will be able to choose from.

Nemanja Vidić


Position: Centre back
Squad No.: 15
Date of birth: 21 October 1981
Place of birth: Titovo Užice, SFR Yugoslavia (now Serbia)
Height: 1.89 m (6' 2'')
Weight: 84 kg (185 lbs)

GP GS G A SH SG FC FS YC RC
44 44 5 1 24 6 42 42 7 1


Namanja was an unknown footballer before he joined Manchester United in 2006, but since then he has become more and more important to Ferguson's backline. He is strong and powerful, while also brilliant in the air, on both ends of the pitch. The Serb is a born leader and he has done a fantastic job organizing the defense. Vidić does struggle when he faces speedy attackers as he lacks the pace to pressure the opposition in that area.

Patrice Evra


Position: Left back
Squad No.: 3
Date of birth: 15 May 1981
Place of birth: Dakar, Senegal
Height: 1.73 m (5' 8'')
Weight: 75 kg (165 lbs)

GP
GS
G
A
SH
SG
FC
FS
YC
RC
46
44
1
1
23
5
60
40
3
0


As a one-time forward, Patrice Evra offers an additional attacking option from the left side. He is a tireless worker on the flank and his pace makes him very dangerous. When Evra is on his game his crosses will more often than not find his target. His attitude fails to live up to his world class abilities as he has many times caused bad blood in his teams' locker room.

Rio Ferdinand


Position: Centre back
Squad No.: 5
Date of birth: 7 November 1978
Place of birth: Peckham, London, England
Height: 1.88 m (6' 2'')
Weight: 77 kg (169 lbs)

GP
GS
G
A
SH
SG
FC
FS
YC
RC
28
28
0
0
1
1
7
16
0
0


Ferdinand has been a cornerstone in Manchester's defense for years now and while he is still playing at a high level, his age appears to be catching up to him. His positioning sense is excellent, but when he suffers from the occasional lapse of concentration, despite his strong tackling, he has limited ability to regain possession. His top speed isn't very high and he can sometimes be overaggressive while pursuing the attacker.

Rafael Pereira da Silva


Position: Right back
Squad No.: 21
Date of birth: 9 July 1990
Place of birth: Petrópolis, Brazil
Height: 1.73 m (5' 8'')
Weight: 65 kg (176 lbs)

GP
GS
G
A
SH
SG
FC
FS
YC
RC
28
25
0
1
11
6
32
32
2
1


Rafael is an attacking minded right back that is also capable playing everywhere on the right side of the pitch. He plays with pace and has fantastic control of the ball. When on defense Rafael tackles hard, but his challenges aren't reckless. Because of his attacking duties he often gets caught out of position, but the aforementioned speed and high work rate get him out of trouble on many of those occasions.

Fabio Pereira da Silva

Position: Full back
Squad No.: 20
Date of birth: 9 July 1990
Place of birth: Petrópolis, Brazil
Height: 1.72 m (5' 8'')
Weight: 65 kg (143 lbs)

GP
GS
G
A
SH
SG
FC
FS
YC
RC
24
15
2
0
6
2
27
13
3
0


Fabio, Rafael's twin brother, is more versatile than his sibling as he can play on either side of the defense as well as a winger. Fabio is quick, technically very skilled and plays with lot of energy. His tackling is, compared to his twin, smoother and less dangerous. His positioning isn't great, but that is what you get when your full back is playing more on the attack than on defense. When Fabio is playing as a winger he is very creative.

John O'Shea


Position: Defender
Squad No.: 22
Date of birth: 30 April 1981
Place of birth: Waterford, Ireland
Height: 1.91 m (6' 3'')
Weight: 71 kg (156 lbs)

GP
GS
G
A
SH
SG
FC
FS
YC
RC
33
30
0
3
8
1
16
6
2
0


John O'Shea's biggest strength is his versatility. He can play anywhere on defense as well at the defensive midfielder position. However, the Irishman's best days as a full back appear to be behind him as he now lacks the pace to beat opposing players down the side. O'Shea is calm and composed resulting in very few mistakes. His tackling isn't a strong point of his game, meaning he can be a liability in the heart of the defense.

Chris Smalling


Position: Centre back
Squad No.: 12
Date of birth: 22 November 1989
Place of birth: Greenwich, England
Height: 1.93 m (6' 4'')
Weight: 90 kg (143 lbs)

GP
GS
G
A
SH
SG
FC
FS
YC
RC
32
23
1
1
13
1
26
17
0
0


Chris Smalling is supposed to be the successor to Rio Ferdinand, which is a big task for the youngster. They do share several qualities through, like calmness with the ball, accurate passing and strength in the air game. Smalling still has to work on his positioning, but with added experience he should learn to anticipate play. Chris has the ability to makes up for his mental mistakes with good tackling.

Jonathan Evans


Position: Defender
Squad No.: 23
Date of birth: 3 January 1988
Place of birth: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Height: 1.89 m (6' 2'')
Weight: 77 kg (170 lbs)

GP
GS
G
A
SH
SG
FC
FS
YC
RC
23
20
0
0
11
2
23
21
2
1


Evans is another young defender Ferguson has at his disposal. Evans is by basic education a centre back, but on more than one occasion he has proven he can also play as a left back. He has a rare combination of speed, strength and agility that makes him so versatile. To become a world class defensive cornerstone he has to work on the mental aspect of the game. He struggles when it comes to commanding the area and lacks confidence with the ball at his feet.

Wes Brown


Position: Centre back
Squad No.: 6
Date of birth: 13 October 1979
Place of birth: Longsight, England
Height: 1.85 m (6' 1'')
Weight: 71 kg (157 lbs)

GP
GS
G
A
SH
SG
FC
FS
YC
RC
17
12
1
0
2
1
18
8
3
0


Brown is first and foremost a centre back, but he is also capable of playing on the right side. He brings experience to Man U's backline and as a true veteran shows calmness with the ball. Brown is good in the air, both in his end and on the opposite side. He lacks skill when playing as right back compared to the new breed of full backs.

Glossary
GP: Games played, GS: Games started, G: Goals, A: Assists, SH: Shots, SG: Shots on goal, FC: Fouls committed, FS: Fouls suffered, YC: Yellow cards, RC: Red cards

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