FOOTBALL NEWS

07/02/2014 16:05, Report by Nick Coppack

Successor already a Red

Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans now have the chance to prove themselves worthy successors to Nemanja Vidic, who has confirmed he will leave Manchester United at the end of this season.

Reds manager David Moyes is unlikely to dip into the transfer market for a centre-back this summer, believing instead that Vidic's long-term replacement lies within his existing squad.

"I think we have got [Nemanja's replacement] in the club already," Moyes told reporters on Friday. "Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans are already here."

Vidic will continue to captain United until his departure and Moyes will use the remaining three months of the season to blood his young defenders alongside the Serbian and fellow experienced centre-back Rio Fedinand.

"People who know football will tell you centre-half is probably the toughest position," Moyes said. "I even think it is harder to play centre-half than goalkeeper now."

"With the movement of the centre forwards and the quality of the centre forwards, playing a young centre-half is very difficult. To nurture one along and bring them into the team… we are trying to do that. We will give Smalling, Jones and Evans those opportunities to show what they are capable of."

Evans won’t be available for Sunday's clash against Fulham after picking up a calf strain last weekend, but Phil Jones, who was stretchered off in the same game with a head injury, has "a good chance".

More: Boss: Timing right for Vidic

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