I have to start with a confession: I agree with Robbie Savage.

I’m sorry, I didn't mean to do it. I promise it meant nothing and I was thinking of you the whole time.

I understand it will take a while for you to trust me again, but please, hear me out.

In his ever enlightening, and presumably ghost-written, column for BBC Sport, Savage tackles the highly fashionable topic of turning around the fortunes of the seemingly bereft Manchester United; he did so presumably two footed whilst hurling insults at nearby officials.

The point on which the ex-Wakes international and I agree so vehemently is the need for David Moyes to stop sending out the best patched up defence he can every week and build a new back-four around Phil Jones.

In Jones, United have the prospect of a genuine world beater of a centre-half who is held back by his own versatility to play in numerous positions almost seamlessly.

Now is the time, however, for Moyes to back the England starlet that many back as a future United and England captain with a regular starting berth in the heart of United’s defence.

Any defender or goalkeeper worth their salt will stress the importance of the stability of a back four and United’s has been far from that.

The makeup of the defensive unit changes game on game with Patrice Evra the only mainstay, largely down to a lack of suitable competition and the failure to snare Leighton Baines from Moyes previous employers.

One of last season's star turns Rio Ferdinand has struggled to remain fully fit and available for selection.

Nemanja Vidic has put in some impressive displays, but like his long term partner Ferdinand is looking like he will never be truly fit for a full season - and looks to have lost a yard of pace, though the club captain has still put in some commanding performances and certainly has a role to play yet.

Jonny Evans has proven himself as more than able at the heart of the defence over the past three seasons and should be rewarded for his consistency with a place alongside Jones, with Rafael at right-back and Evra on the left until the summer at least.

Vidic can slot in alongside Jones for the big games and Chris Smalling is an able deputy should either of the first choice pairing being unavailable, whilst Ferdinand can provide backup until the end of the season.

Establishing a back-four will make the life of David De Gea easier, improving communication and confidence throughout the team and will make it easier for Evra’s eventual successor to slot in seamlessly when the time comes.

Whilst United have stuttered so far this season the defence hasn’t been a significant cause for concern, so making such a change at the back shouldn’t cause any further disruption and Jones is the perfect cornerstone for Moyes new look defence.

Sir Alex Ferguson maybe went a bit far in suggesting that Jones could go down as one of the greatest players the defending champions have ever seen but he can certainly be up there as one of the best centre-halves Old Trafford has seen.

Moyes needs to make an impression on this United team and make it his own and in this case it's time to build up from the back.


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Topics:
Phil Jones
Premier League
Manchester United
Football