Nemanja Vidic has been player of the year, says Gary Pallister

27 January 2011 04:35
Gary Pallister believes ManchesterUnited defender Nemanja Vidic should be the early favourite to claimthis season's player of the year prizes.

As a former United centre-back, Pallister is well placed to assess Vidic's performances.

TheSerbian has proved to be an inspirational figure in the Red Devils'Barclays Premier League title quest after putting speculation about hisfuture behind him by signing a new contract in the summer, theninheriting the captain's armband from Gary Neville.

So solid: Captain Vidic (right) has been in superb form for most of the season for Manchester United

'Nemanja has been immense this season,' Pallister said. 'He is certainly up there as the player of the season.

'The manager has given him the captain's armband, which shows the trust he has in him.

'A lot of things were said about Nemanja and whether he wanted to leave. That was put to bed with the new contract and now he looks really settled on the pitch.'

Pallisterand Vidic will get the chance to discuss that contract saga at aspecially-arranged 'Lunch with the Legends' at Old Trafford on Monday,February 14.

PatriceEvra will also be present for a no-holds-barred Q&A session, hostedby television personality and United fan Eamonn Holmes, the thirdannual fund-raiser held by the Manchester United Foundation.

Itwill offer Vidic the opportunity to look back on his five years at theclub, during which time he has established himself as one of thetoughest defenders in the world.

However,Pallister feels the captain's armband has brought an extra dimension tohis game, one that brings the best out of those around him.

'He has been a great leader,' he said. 'He is so determined in everything that he does. He doesn't hold back from any challenges and is very physical. Players respond to that.'

There are definitely similarities between the bond Vidic has with Rio Ferdinand and the one Pallister shared with Steve Bruce.

Dream team: Bruce (left) and Pallister enjoyed great success as the Red Devils' central defensive pairing

Dubbed 'Dolly and Daisy' bySir Alex Ferguson, Pallister and Bruce brought United the defensivestability they craved and proved the bedrock for the first of theirPremier League titles in 1993, since when United have remained thestandard-bearers every opponent judges themselves by.

'It is a blend,' said Pallister. 'Stevewas like Nemanja. He would put his head into places you would cringeat. They are also both threats in the opponents' box.

'Itis no secret that you become a better partnership the more you playtogether. When those two are at the heart of the defence, United arevery hard to break down.

'Last season, and the early part of this one, they were missing a lot of the time and it caused problems.

'They might not have been beaten but United were giving away ridiculous goals at the end of games.

'If that could have been sorted out, they would have been well clear at the top of the table.'

As it is, the advantage is five points following Tuesday night's win at Blackpool.

Yetagain, United failed to perform for much of the contest, with IanHolloway convinced the Seasiders were heading for maximum points untilDimitar Berbatov launched the latest in a long line of comebacks 19minutes from time.

Understanding: Ferdinand forms a hard-to-beat partnership with Vidic at the heart of the United defence

'It is down to resilience and character,' said Pallister. 'Those players just do not know when they are beaten. They are not as fluent as they have been but their spirit has carried them through.

'There have been times when they should have been beaten but they have managed to squeeze something out of nothing.'

Whenthey resume their title quest against Aston Villa at Old Trafford nextTuesday, United will do so knowing victory will take them a game closerto their pre-season objective of a record 19th league title.

'I always expect them to finish top,' said Pallister. 'There is a great togetherness about them and you still think there is more to come.

'It is going to take a good team to break them down and end this run, that's for sure.'

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 Explore more:People: Alex Ferguson, Steve Bruce, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Eamonn Holmes, Gary Neville, Gary Pallister

Source: Daily_Mail

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