During a live webchat on Manchester United's official website -- ManUtd.com -- captain Nemanja Vidic revealed that he is on course to begin training in July. He also said this means that he should be ready for the beginning of 2012/13 season. The Serbian suffered cruciate ligament damage in his knee in December during the infamous UEFA Champions League defeat in Basel. When asked about how recovery is going, here is how Vidic responded:
"It's going well. Obviously the projection was I would be ready for the next season. I am on schedule and will hopefully start training again in July."
- Vidic | Source: ManUtd.com
When further asked on what his rehabilitation currently consists of, here is what the skipper had to say:
"Through working in the gym mainly. Much of the stuff I'm doing in the gym I don't look forward to, but it benefits me. I have to say I'm doing more work now, while I'm injured, than I do when I'm playing. Because of that, I spend more time here at Carrington. But also because I'm not playing, there is less travelling so I can spend some more time with my family. That's a good point for me, because we have a third child now so there is a lot to do at home."
Vidic's deputies have fared well in his absence, especially Jonny Evans. The Northern Ireland international has established himself as first-choice for the time being and he's arguably been United's standout defender this season. The captain had some praise for his deputies:
"I think they are doing very well. If you look at their age and the expectation we have from them, it wasn't that high but they turned out to be important players for the team. They have great futures ahead of them and Evans is playing really well in the last few games."
I thought this was interesting part of the webchat as well -- when asked who United's standout player has been this season, here is how Vidic responded:
"He's [Antonio Valencia] a great player to play with. First of all he's a team player who works hard for the team and makes a difference up front. He's done it so many times this season and it seems like he's made a step up and improved. I would say he is our best player this season. There are one or two others, like Wazza's had a great season and has scored a lot of goals. But Antonio has done really well. It's important he's fit and plays all the games because we need him at this time of the season.''
Fortunately for United, they have quality depth at center-back so there is no need to rush the return of Vidic. This is assuming of course that nothing unexpected like a defender leaving for China happens. Rio Ferdinand still offers class performances on his day but his availability is often in question due to his chronic back ailments. As mentioned, Evans has had a fantastic season while youngster Chris Smalling has also established himself at United and in the England squad during the past 18 months . Despite struggling a bit at center-back this season, Phil Jones is a promising prospect as well at the position. Get well skipper, come back at full strength. You're covered in the meantime.