CHRIS SMALLING and Phil Jones have struggled to live up to their expectations at Manchester United.
And former club captain Nemanja Vidic believes that he is partly to blame for their poor progression.
AFP Vidic left the Manchester giants in 2014
Vidic has claimed that himself and Rio Ferdinand could have done more to help them, but believes they spent too much time out injured.
During a media coaching session at St George’s Park, Vidic said: “It didn’t help them [Smalling and Jones] because they didn’t have a more experienced player to pick their brains when they blamed.
“It’s not just about playing together with an experienced player.
“If Phil Jones is 24 and playing alongside someone who is 34, the player who is 34 is using his brain more than the 24-year-old.”
Reuters Smalling and Jones have been an unreliable partnership for United
Sir Alex Ferguson viewed Smalling and Jones as long-term replacements for the two experienced defenders.
But Ferdinand suffered with a back injury and Vidic ruptured a crucial ligament, which resulted in the two youngsters being called in prematurely.
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Vidic added: “To rise, he needs to be encouraged a bit and made to feel comfortable in his shoes.
“If you lose that belief and think ‘should I be here, or here, or be here’, then it’s difficult to play.
Getty Images – Getty Ferdinand and Vidic in action in 2014
“So that didn’t help them.
“Even if they do something bad, you say: ‘OK, he’s 24 but where was I to help him?”
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