FOOTBALL NEWS

24/10/2013 17:47, Report by Adam Marshall
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Centre-back scrap is good

Former Manchester United defender Danny Higginbotham believes the centre-back conundrum facing David Moyes is a good problem for the manager to have.

Jonny Evans and Phil Jones have performed admirably in the last two fixtures with Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand out of action while Chris Smalling has also impressed of late. With five top-class players competing for the two slots, it is an area that must be giving Moyes food for thought ahead of Saturday's visit of Stoke City, another of Higginbotham's former clubs.

"It's a difficult one isn't it?" Higginbotham said to ManUtd.com. "However, it's a great problem to have.

"I was with Jonny at Sunderland and you could see, with the ability he had, that he was going to have a great opportunity at United. With Jones and Smalling as well, there is an abundance of talent in the centre while Rio and Vidic have been mainstays over the years.

"The time is going to come when the younger ones get more of an opportunity and, for me, it's just good to have so much competition. From what I've seen from all the centre-backs at this moment in time, they are all performing well, and it's a tough decision for the manager to make."

Having played with Evans at the Stadium of Light, Higginbotham is fully aware of the Northern Ireland international's talents. "He was great at Sunderland," added the Chester stopper. "He did really well. The thing with Jonny was he never looked flustered.

"He was a ball-playing centre-back, a very good defender as well, but very comfortable with the ball at his feet. From my time with him at Sunderland, what he is doing now for Manchester United is something I definitely would have predicted was going to happen. He's had some great games and I'm sure, in the long term, he will get a longer run as well.

"I got to know him quite well. He's a really nice lad and great character as well as a great player. He deserves everything he is getting at the moment."

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