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Ferdinand, Vidic and Evra

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by KingEric7, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. Feb 12, 2018
    #1

    KingEric7 Stupid Conspiracy Enthusiast Wanker

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    Nothing to do with yesterday's game; more just a general point I've been thinking about for a while.

    Are these three underrated in terms of their standing in the game? I've not been around here for a while, but I'm just wondering I suppose where exactly people would rank these players in an all-time list.

    There are a couple of important points to consider with these three, I think:

    - They did it in an era which is almost non-contact in open play - it must be an absolutely stressful nightmare to be a defender in the modern era.
    - My memory of that United 08 team is that it was not always the most dominant, and could end up inviting all sorts of pressure on the defence. I remember that Barcelona semi-final tie in particular being a complete onslaught.

    Evra is the one that strikes me as being possibly the most under-appreciated given the complete madness that was his overall contribution in both attack and defence, to be honest. There just came a point it seems where many people decided Cole was the better left back, but I'm not sure if I remember a lot of that sort of talk during Evra's peak.

    Anyways... 'exactly how good were these players?' is my question. Are people willing to put them up there with the very, very best of all time?
  2. Feb 12, 2018
    #2

    SadlerMUFC Full Member

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    I'd definitely put them in the conversation. Especially Rio and Vidic. Evra was great as long as we weren't playing Tottenham and he wasn't lining up against Aaron Lennon. I don't know what it was with Lennon, but Evra had a habbit of making him look like Messi. Lennon just had his number...
  3. Feb 12, 2018
    #3

    roonster09 Full Member

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    Evra was a fantastic footballer, forget his poor crossing but his overall game was just superb. His first touch, dribbling, one touch play in the build up was joy to watch.

    Shame we never had a fullback in his class. His improvement in heading the ball was also very obvious.

    Rio-Vida, don't have to say anything. Up there with the best CB pairing league has ever seen.

    Also one thing I never understood was Evra's poor show against Lennon. Consistently had good games against anyone but poor against Lennon.
  4. Feb 12, 2018
    #4

    kps88 Full Member

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    West Ham have Burnley at home in a month. I'm hoping we get to see Evra vs Lennon for old times' sake.
  5. Feb 12, 2018
    #5

    Keeps It tidy Hates Messi

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    Three of my favorite players ever but, I think they all get their fair due.
  6. Feb 12, 2018
    #6

    SadlerMUFC Full Member

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    I never thought about that. Could be interesting to see. I think Evra still has nightmares about Lennon lol
  7. Feb 12, 2018
    #7

    Pacificgi Full Member

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    They were brilliant defensively. I appreciate Evras ability to bring us forward so much more nowadays. As others have said he linked up so well. He seemed to always have space and time on the ball.
  8. Feb 12, 2018
    #8

    roonster09 Full Member

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    He was very good player, not just LB. I mean in terms of completeness. His acceleration and pace was so good but so was his dribbling and first touch. Only weakness in his game was his crossing.

    Also he was never injured.
  9. Feb 12, 2018
    #9

    amolbhatia50k Sneaky bum time

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    As good as any I've seen in their respective positions.

    I still remember when we signed Vidic and he put in some towering defensive headers dwarfing CFs. He was rough the edges at the start (due to the adjustment) but I felt as excited to see this no nonsense CB at United (we needed one for years) as I have watching any attacking talent. My favorite defender till date.

    Rio was such a complete defender. He, at times was troubled by physicality, but you rarely find a defender who could beat you in every aspect of the game and still come out looking good in a football sense. He made some quality players look very average.

    Evra is a player who I'll always look at fondly. He was a one man army on the left hand side. Great engine. Superb on the ball. Strong in the tackle. Full of fire and personality.
  10. Feb 12, 2018
    #10

    Invictus Poster of the Year 2015 Staff

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    Depends on how you define very, very best. Baresi, Beckenbauer, Scirea, Maldini, Brehme they patently weren't, so that's out the window and one shouldn't be willing to put them up there just because. But Rio is the best English central defender of all time after only Moore in my book - and at the peak of his power, he had no discernible weakness in his game - a bit like Nesta in that regard, Vidić was an incredible defenders' defender and a premium stopper of post-modern football, and Evra one of the best left-backs of the last 15 years (on a broad tier) after the likes of Cole and Marcelo - comparable to Abidal in terms of overall stature, albeit with a different style. That's exceptional when you consider that all three were in their peak simultaneously and part of the same defense at the same time ahead of Van der Sar - who could be categorized as a Top 10-15 goalkeeper of all time in his own right. Normally, you'll get maybe 2 very good players in a defense as organizers and others take their lead, 3 at a stretch, but that United team had 4 at once and helped define a defensive era - which is something not many teams can match over the years.
  11. Feb 12, 2018
    #11

    Annihilate Now! ...or later, I'm not fussy Scout

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    There was a period of time of about 2 years (maybe more) where Evra was probably our most consistent player... but it wasn't just a 7/10 every game, it was 8/9 out of 10 every game. He was feckin' excellent at his peak... as were Rio and Vidic obviously.
  12. Feb 12, 2018
    #12

    Lawman Correctly predicted Portugal to win Euro 2016

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    Very good insightful post (I liked that @Invictus )
  13. Feb 12, 2018
    #13

    BenjaminP Banned

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    Always enjoyed Evra's link up plays with Park on left side.
  14. Feb 12, 2018
    #14

    KingEric7 Stupid Conspiracy Enthusiast Wanker

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    Never really seen these players so there's not much I can say in terms of how good they were. Like I say, though, that context these days of players basically not really being able to do anything to forwards without the possibility of a dive being deeply embedded into their approach is an important thing to consider, I think. On the other hand, I imagine it's far more stressful being a footballer these days, and that this sort of anxiety could really leak into the expressiveness of attacking players, and perhaps mean that defenders have less spontaneity to deal with.

    Not really in a position to put forward too strong a viewpoint either way, but I suppose I'm conscious that there are possibly trends to consider in modern day football in terms of players diving and defending/closing down all over the pitch to consider, and that maybe this sort of thing is a serious case in favour of the likes of Vidic, Ferdinand and Evra when assessing their positioning in the list of all time greats.
  15. Feb 12, 2018
    #15

    abdo99 Full Member City Lover

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    They have not been replaced yet which is the worst thing in itself.
  16. Feb 12, 2018
    #16

    Hamadovich86 Full Member

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    I think Rio gets his due. Evra was brilliant on his day but I think he gets adequate praise. Whats really baffling for me is that Vidic is not regarded as highly as he was in his day. For some odd reason I hear people saying that Rio covered for him and he wouldnt have shined as brightly. I say bullocks to that, there were plenty of times where Vidic had to carry Rio especially in the later days when Rio lost his pace and had to rely on his (excellent) positioning. Those two complimented each other very well and Vidic deserves his fair share of credit for that.
  17. Feb 12, 2018
    #17

    Eddy_JukeZ Full Member

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    All 3 were excellent and all 3 bled United.
  18. Feb 12, 2018
    #18

    KingEric7 Stupid Conspiracy Enthusiast Wanker

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    This is how I remember him, particularly in 08/09 and the first half of 09/10.

    Evra and Fletcher during that period were constantly topping MoTM polls, from memory.
  19. Feb 12, 2018
    #19

    el3mel Full Member

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    Evra was a great LB and Rio was one of the best defenders I have seen in my life.
  20. Feb 12, 2018
    #20

    12OunceEpilogue Full Member

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    Yes Rio-Vidic is rightly lauded as key to our defensive prowess but the addition of Evra alongside them was so important for us.

    I always felt Evra was a touch underrated by non-United fans and the press given Ashley Cole was the man for Chelsea and England at the time. Of course there's nothing wrong with preferring Cole but I was happy for Evra to be a little under the radar despite being one of the best in the world in his position.

    Of course we'd all give various possessions and probably body parts to have them three in their prime now.
  21. Feb 12, 2018
    #21

    Regulus Arcturus Black Banned

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    Evra was our best player for a while, so important to the team. Guy just had sooo much quality in defence and attack. He might not have been a big scorer or assister, but he was absolutely essential to how we played and how we always managed to get behind defences.
  22. Feb 12, 2018
    #22

    TheRedDevil'sAdvocate Full Member

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    Ferdinand is the best English defender I've watched in my lifetime. He was already an accomplished centre-half when he joined United, ability wise, but it was the way he adapted his game to his degrading strengths during the second half of his career at OT that really made him stand out above the rest. The way he transformed from being the more aggressive/proactive centre-half in his title-winning partnership with Blanc and then alongside Brown, Sylvestre to finally become the covering defender in his partnership with Vidic in Ferguson's last truly great side. His development from your prototypical British defender (always combative, macho-type, constantly yelling and pointing fingers) to the cleanest central defender in England who rarely got booked because he rarely tackled because his reading of the game was sublime. I feel it's worth pointing out that he was "forced" into doing that. It was simply a case of "evolve or die" because there was absolutely no way that Ferguson would have opted for a different setup just to accommodate one player or another. The formula was tested and proven right, so it was always up to the players to earn their places in the starting lineup (some of the players in our current side could learn something from that). In the end, Rio brought leadership, calmness and a feeling of security which allowed Vidic to quickly find his place and flourish at United. If his reputation suffers from anything, that would be the fact that he joined a juggernaut like United when he was the best defender in England. A great defender with his best footballing years ahead of him joining one of the best clubs in the world, nothing romantic about that if you're not a United fan. Other greats from England's golden generation are viewed somewhat differently due to circumstances. Gerrard, for example, is the gifted footballer who could have searched for greener pastures but chose to stay at his boyhood club. Likewise, Terry & Lampard became synonymous with Chelsea's resurgence out of the wilderness.

    Vidic was a different beast. What can one say about him? He cost around 7 million pounds, Carragher has said that he was one step away from Anfield but when he got the call from Fergie he immediately chose United, he overcame a tough start in England and some very harsh criticism from the pundits (the unknown fellow from the Russian league who can't make the cut at the highest level kind of stuff) and he became the type of defender most fans and pundits in England crave for. But in my eyes, all these pale in comparison with the all too familiar aura that surrounded him whenever he was on the pitch. He was the embodiment of the fighting spirit that was ever present at United in my time: First, it was Robson, then Keane was the one to carry the torch and after him it was Vidic. I still remember when Ferguson chose him to be our captain and Giggs, with his history and talent, claimed that Vidic was the most natural and reasonable choice for the role. If he's overlooked by some, that is because he was plagued with injuries, he lost lots of games and was forced to retire relatively early (for a defender).

    Evra was the best left-back in the league for over a decade. Ferguson trusted him so much that he never really cared to sign a natural LB as a back-up (until Buttner). He trusted him to take care of himself in terms of fitness, he trusted him to do the job once or twice a week with without the risk of frequent howlers and without looking for excuses and he trusted him as a personality. He was one of Fergie's go-to men on the pitch and in the dressing room and when we're talking about Ferguson, this is a badge of honour. Very few players have immersed themselves in the culture of the club like Evra. In his prime, he was absolutely perfect for us. And i always felt that he (and Rafael) got too much stick for their defensive positioning in the last years of the SAF era when the latter opted for tactics that pretty much demanded of his full-backs to provide width and options on the whole length of the pitch. Anyway, Evra was the starting LB in 5 CL finals in the course of 12 years (nearly one final in every two seasons) and for three different clubs.

    All of them were legends and no one would raise any eye-brows if each one of them is mentioned by some fans (few or many doesn't matter) in the best xi of all time for United.
  23. Feb 12, 2018
    #23

    amolbhatia50k Sneaky bum time

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    I always rated Evra higher than Cole. The latter was better one on one but Evra was a tougher tackler and much more skillful on rhe ball. Very little in it, though.

    Marcelo is worse than both for me. Great going forward but poor defensively. Like Dani Alves except Alves could actually defend.
  24. Feb 12, 2018
    #24

    roonster09 Full Member

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    Same for me, always rated Evra better than Cole. Cole is better defensively but Evra was better going forward with his link up play.
  25. Feb 12, 2018
    #25

    amolbhatia50k Sneaky bum time

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    Yeah Cole was harder to beat one on one but Evra was more of a beast ready to go through a brick wall for you. Cole had better delivery but Evra was much more skillful on the ball and could carry it forward like a winger. At times he pretty much was our left flank which was a testament to his quality.
  26. Feb 12, 2018
    #26

    Jaybomb Banned

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    Vidic is our greatest CB of all time. And in my opinion, the greatest CB in Premier League history.

    His partnership with Rio was world class. You won’t find a better CB partnership than they had. It’s up there with the best of them.

    And Evra... where do I start? United through and through. Arguably our best LB ever, only rivalled by Denis Irwin. He was world class. They all were.

    It pains me that we went from Rio and Vidic to Smalling and Jones. It really does. They look like fecking bootleg versions of them.
  27. Feb 12, 2018
    #27

    Annihilate Now! ...or later, I'm not fussy Scout

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    Apart from after 2012/13 where he randomly decided he'd chip in with 4 league goals...

    Though I suppose it wasn't random, it was when we realised the man had a magnificent leap and would be a decent threat at attacking set-plays
  28. Feb 12, 2018
    #28

    roonster09 Full Member

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    His leap was very good and shame he used it only near the end of his ManUtd career.

    Btw 2012-13 was fun
    Evra - 4 goals
    Evans - 4 goals
    Rafael - 3 goals
    Buttner - 2 goals
  29. Feb 12, 2018
    #29

    El Jefe Full Member

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    Ridiculously good and consistent the 3 of them. Evra will always be one of my favourite players because he dominated that left hand side by himself at times. Their personality is what I loved the most.

    Vidic - The hardest defender you're likely to come up against but he had an ice cold persona. Only focused on the win and did it with minimum fuss.

    Rio - He's what Pogba thinks he is. He talked the talk and loved the attention and joking around but on the match day and especially big games he loved the responsibility and led with maximum concentration and quality.

    Evra - Everything he did was with 100% commitment. A small guy but an absolute fighter. Also had no problem talking the talk and delivering after as he did to Arsenal in the duels around that period.

    They were the backbone of the 06-09 period along with Ronaldo. Legends
  30. Feb 12, 2018
    #30

    Andycoleno9 Full Member

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    With edwin on the goal that was the best defence in europe. For years.
    This thread makes me angry and sad. From those 3 to mike, phil and ashley. :(
    To paraphrase- Per astra ad aspera
  31. Feb 12, 2018
    #31

    Bobski Full Member

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    Vidic would be getting shit for his passing if he was playing now. Not helping the team by not being a playmaker and forcing midfielders to do an actual midfielders job.

    3 great players, leaders and competitors.
  32. Feb 12, 2018
    #32

    youngrell Full Member

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    I can see the point you're trying to make but I don't agree with it in terms of Vida. His passing was actually quite decent, and superior to a lot of centre halves playing at the moment. Sure he wasn't Pirlo, but he didn't hoof it away either, he was always good at finding Evra out wide or Carrick/Scholes in the middle.
  33. Feb 12, 2018
    #33

    Bobski Full Member

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    Carrick and Scholes made it easy for the defenders, always dropped to provide an option. People used to complain that we were not making the most of Rio's ability on the ball because he was just giving 5/10 yard passes to the midfield most of the time. Vidic was functional on the ball, give it easy or if under pressure pull it to his left and clip it down the line. he was allowed to concentrate on defending while our midfield was expected to do the job of a midfield(Pogba, I am looking at you)
  34. Feb 12, 2018
    #34

    Cheesy Bread with dipping sauce Scout

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    Nah - while he was wasn't the most proficient with the ball his defensive qualities were so good it didn't really matter. He's far better in just about every aspect of defending than any of our current lot at the back.
  35. Feb 12, 2018
    #35

    Rossa Full Member

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    Lennon had Evra's number, for sure. I think it was because he was probably the only player that could out-accelerate Evra. Evra had a habit of giving wingers, even Walcott, a yard or two only to catch up and either block, steal their ball, or put in a sliding tackle. Lennong would just accelerate past him or twist him.

    I think I would want Rio first, then Evra, then Vidic if I could pick them at their prime. Rio's all round game would compliment any of our centre backs. Evra's ability to bring the ball out from defense and get up and down the pitch would be invaluable to our present team.
  36. Feb 12, 2018
    #36

    Jinn Full Member

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    What would they cost at their peak in today's market? Probably upward of 250m for all 3.
  37. Feb 12, 2018
    #37

    MadDogg Full Member

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    Their peaks happened at different times. Cole's peak was in his Arsenal days before Evra even joined us, with 04/05 probably being his last truly great season (there was one season at Chelsea where it looked like he'd recovered his best, but then he went down with injury again and never got back to that level). Once Evra got going with us he was certainly the best around for the next four or five seasons.

    Comparing their absolute bests against each other it's hard to say, but I probably lean Cole's way. He was a bit better defensively, and while he wasn't as good as Evra at going forward he had a better end product when he did. Of course, after typing that I think back and remember those months (years?) where Evra basically dominated our entire left side both defensively and offensively match after match, and think that Cole probably couldn't do that. So maybe it should be Evra.

    As for Rio, I consider him at his peak to be the best central defender of the last 15 years. His 07/08 season in particular was ridiculous, he was every bit as important to us that season as Ronaldo was at the other end Both were surrounded with other great defenders/attackers, but they were the star man. Other than maybe Nesta of around 2002 there hasn't been a central defender who has had a better season since I started watching football seriously in the late 90's. Unfortunately that was his last great season, as injury started plaguing him the following season and he never fully recovered.

    Vidic was almost as good and he stepped up further when Rio's problems started. Indeed, Vida's first half of 08/09 was just as good as Rio had been the previous season, but unlike Rio he couldn't maintain that level for the entire season. Brilliant defender, and combined perfectly with Rio.

    Combine those three with VDS behind them and it's no wonder we had the best defence in the world for that period of time, despite having a bit of a revolving door at right back as different players stepped up into that position.
  38. Feb 12, 2018
    #38

    MadDogg Full Member

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    Depends on if we were buying them at their peak (in other words, if they were already performing at the level that they reached with us), or as they were when we bought them. If the former, 250m wouldn't even come close if they were already at a top team. Rio by himself would probably be 150m, and that would only be if he forced himself out of the club.
  39. Feb 12, 2018
    #39

    Hughie77 New Member

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    I tell you I would love to have them 3 today. Rio, Vidic, maybe best cb partnership we've had. Bruce, Pallister not bad iether. But Rio and Vidic complemented each other. Vidic would head a brick wall, Rio had the pace and class with his feet, and both scored goals important ones as well. When was the last time our CBs scored a winner or important goal. Evra was forever constant, and better in Europe . 3 top top players.
  40. Feb 12, 2018
    #40

    Pat Evra New Member

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    This. And he was never injured, which was just incredible at that time when everyone at United was injured at least once through the season.

    I wonder what would average ratings on Redcafe look like for him (and rest of the team also) at that time.

    (Not sure if there was players ratings here at that time.)