The sending off of Nemanja Vidic at Chelsea was met with a collective groan from every United fan, not for it’s effect on the game but for the repercussions of the suspension that went with it.
With Rio Ferdinand still injured and Jonny Evans still it meant that Sir Alex Ferguson was left with few options at centre back for the game at Anfield.
Although Evans’ absence was hardly like to induce feelings of disappointment from most Reds, as his form this season has been alarmingly poor, without either Ferdinand or Vidic United faced an uphill struggle.
Ferguson said: R20;I don’t think Rio will be fit for Liverpool,
R20;Wes Brown will take over. He has great experience.”
Brown is one of the more popular players among United fans, the R20;He’s big he’s bad he’s Wesley Brown..” chant – which is a lot better than the “we’ve got Wesley Brown one”- can be heard both home and away.
While I can’t speak for any of the rest of the Old Trafford faithful I certainly know why Brown is a player I’ve loved over the years.
Firstly, he’s been at the club since he was a kid, admittedly that hasn’t always been enough to make me love John O’Shea but it is always good to see a player come through the ranks -especially a local lad like Brown.
Secondly Brown always gives his all and is not afraid of putting a player ‘in the stands’ so to speak when it’s required.
Thirdly on his day Brown is one of the finest defenders in the world, let’s not forget that Fergie once said he was the most naturally gifted defender at the club.
Brown’s always been a reliable defender who can be called upon no matter how big or small the occasion. I remember how excited all the fans were in the 1998/99 treble winning campaign when Brown burst into the scene with superb performances against the likes of Bayern Munich and Barcelona.
Other than a tendency to get injured Brown’s an ideal defender, just as comfortable at centre back as he his at right back. Throughout the
More recently there was the assist for United’s opener in the 2008 Champion’s League final when with his left foot no less Brown put a pin point accurate cross onto the beautiful bonce of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Since that wonderful night in Moscow, Brown’s had a fairly mixed time of it with injuries yet again hampering a consistent run in the side and eventually leading to the hardest man in all the town falling behind both Rafael and O’Shea at right back. At centre back Brown is now fifth choice as the arrival of Chris Smalling as meant his opportunities have been few and far between.
There was talk of Brown and Fergie falling out at the club’s pre-season tour leading to the defender becoming persona non grata at Old Trafford.
The fact that Brown was made captain for the recent home game against Crawley makes that particular rumour seem a tad unlikely but whatever the reason for his lack of first team action, the fact is he’s only played a handful of games this season- five in the Premier League.
That’s the main concern many will have is that Brown can often take a couple of games to get into his stride and there can be no room for error at Anfield.
The same can be said of any defender returning to a side though and whether its against David Ngog, Luis Suarez or Andy Carroll, I’m confident Brown can do the job. At the beginning of the season Brown retired from the England side to concentrate on his United career, a sacrifice that so far has seemed pointless.Watching such a great club servant have to make do with substitute appearances against the like of Southampton and rare starts against a team like Crawley is something of a shame to say the least.
Brown deserves his chance to remind Fergie that despite the form of Smalling, the brilliance of Rafael and the improvement of O’Shea, he’s still worth considering.
Brown’s still one of the most naturally gifted defenders there is and if he puts in the sort of performance he ‘s become renowned for over the years then United have nothing to worry about, when the hardest man in all the town’s on the pitch, it’s the Liverpool strikers that should be worrying.
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