Nemanja Vidic used to demand to play outnumbered in Manchester United training
Football training sessions can depend on the manager. Some like smaller training drills of five-a-side, other training games are 11 v 11, or if you are Nemanja Vidic, you prefer to be one defender against two strikers.
This was Vidic’s preferred training method at Manchester United, according to former Red Devils youth talent Frederic Veseli.
Veseli told The Athletic how Vidic used to demand to train outnumbered, to push himself and test his ability.
All these years since Vidic retired, despite plenty of searching, Manchester United have been unable to find a centre-back who comes close.
Vidic used to demand to play outnumbered
Veseli explained: “Vidic was a monster, demanding to play by himself against two forwards.
“He’d isolate one and aggressively attack the other, he’d use his hands.”
Vidic was getting towards the end of his career when Veseli joined in January 2012, retiring in 2014.
To this day the Serbian defender remains one of Manchester United’s best value ever signings, bought for just £7 million from Spartak Moscow in 2005.
By time he retired, he had won the Champions League, five Premier League titles and three League Cups, and with a little luck, that tally could have been even higher.
Vidic’s preferred training method speaks to his mindset, he wanted to push himself in difficult situations, to prepare for unexpected scenarios he could face during games.
Even if this may be something today’s players practice at times too, the fact this was Vidic’s favourite training drill speaks volumes about his mentality, and how he simply embraced the opportunity for a physical battle.
Despite the attacking talent at United at the time, our money would be on Vidic to come out on top in many of these training drills, despite being outnumbered.
Veseli, 29, plays for Salernitana in Italy after leaving United for Ipswich in 2014. His full interview with Andy Mitten in The Athletic is a fascinating read about his own journey in football, pre and post United.
Manchester United are on the lookout for a defender this summer, to fix a defence which has conceded more goals than any Red Devils team in the Premier League era.
If the club’s scouts can find a centre-back who loves defending as much as Vidic, United will be on the right track.