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The man we needed Back!

Siddarth Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The last 12-15 months haven’t been the best time for Rio in terms of injuries. First, he spent most of last season troubled with a niggling back injury that refused to go away, finally when he did recover in time to participate in the World cup, he ended up damaging his knee during training with England in their pre-World cup camp, after Emile Heskey fell on his knee!

Last season, Rio had made only 12 starts in the premiership along with 6 appearances in Europe, he missed out on a major chunk of the season, but his absence wasn’t felt that badly, mainly thanks to the excellent performances of Jonny Evans, who showed that he was a more than capable deputy to Rio. Jonny hardly put a foot wrong last season as he improved with every game, building a formidable partnership with Nemanja Vidic.

So as we neared the start of the new season, people were quick to write Rio off with claims that he was past his best and his footballing career was almost over as he was injury prone!

The season began with Rio still recovering from the knee injury he suffered in the summer, and Jonny Evans looked set to continue at the heart of the defense, but much to everyone’s disbelief, our defense seemed to disintegrate every game, especially towards the end of the matches, as we went around dropping 2 goal leads, and ending up drawing games we should have won with ease. Jonny Evans looked a shadow of the player who was considered the future of United’s defense. Even John O’Shea’s poor form wasn’t helping our cause as we continued to let goals in and struggled against much lesser opposition’s!

When Rio did return, it was expected that he would bolster our defense but he did much more than that, his impact was amazing, the defense got better with each game, Vidic was returning to his best and the gaping holes in defense were sealed! I’m not implying that Rio did this all by himself, but there’s no denying the fact that his return brought some order and control to the tatters that our defense was getting reduced to every game!

Rio’s presence brings a calming influence over the side, with his cool and composed defending; Rio is natural leader on the pitch, always vocal and helping his team mates out and having him back to his best is sufficient enough to inspire confidence in the rest of the team. This is exactly why Fabio Capello selected Rio to be the captain of the English national team!

Rio’s successful return defied all those who predicted the end of his career, neither has his body broken down yet, as many said he would or struggled with back problems! I agree that Rio might not be able to play 2 games a week anymore but the emergence of Chris Smalling, who has settled in exceptionally well at the club, has given Sir Alex the option to rest Rio, ensuring he’s a 100% for the important games.

Anyone who ‘s foolish enough to still suggest that Rio isn’t good enough for Manchester United or England must seriously get their head examined. Rio is still among the best Centre Backs in the world and there’s no disputing that because he’s proved so with his performances since his return. One thing’s for sure, we sorely missed him and with him back, we can now step up our title challenge!

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AbhinavCJ said...

There's no doubt in the fact that Rio brings a lot more than defensive options in the team... He's one of the leaders in the team alongside Vidic, Nev, Giggs & Fletch... It's indeed great to see him back & if he plays the way he's playing now, he's good enough for another 2 years or so...

Well Siddharth you've been doing a good job with your blog & so I feel that you should be giving advice to budding bloggers like me! Of course if you don't mind doing that...

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