Alexander Büttner Could Be Manchester United's Next Legendary Foreign Defender

Simon Edmonds@@Eddie_EdmondsCorrespondent ISeptember 16, 2012

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15:  Alexander Buttner of Manchester United runs with the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Wigan Athletic at Old Trafford on September 15, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Alexander Büttner made his Manchester United debut this weekend in a 4-0 home demolition of Wigan Athletic.

In the process, Büttner scored a wonder goal—which saw him shimmy his way past no fewer than three Lactic defenders—and set up Mexican teammate Javier Hernandez for United’s second.

His performance defensively was also something to be marveled at, with the 23-year-old showing the world his ability is not limited to forward-thinking moves alone.

In fact, Büttner showed the defensive savvy that his rival for the left-back slot, Patrice Evra, has been lacking for the best part of a year now, and has as a result more than likely won a place on Sir Alex’s team sheet for next Sunday’s clash with Liverpool at Anfield.

OK, so it’s incredibly early days in regards to Büttner’s time with the club, but if today’s man-of-the-match-winning-performance is anything to go by then the future is very bright for the young Dutchman.

In truth, his move to the club has the same kind of feel about it as the deal which saw Nemanja Vidic become a United player.

Vidic was 24 years old when he joined United from Spartak Moscow in 2006, and like Büttner he was a relative unknown.

Many fans questioned why Fergie had put his trust in someone so inexperienced and unheard of at such a crucial time in United’s history.

The Red Devils had gone through their longest drought without a Premier League trophy since the leagues reformation in 1992 when the Serbian centre-back turned up.

Vidic shocked the world with his consistent performances and helped lead Fergie and his merry men to three consecutive League crowns. For the first time since Jaap Stam left the club in 2001, United had two world-class players at the heart of their defence as Vidic teamed up with Rio Ferdinand to cast doubt into the souls of all opposing attacks.

So could Büttner be on the same path to glory? All signs point to a yes.

His performance yesterday aside, Büttner has been praised as one the best natural left-backs in the world today by his very own coach, Sir Alex Ferguson.

If there is one man who knows talent when he sees it—particularly youth talent—it’s Fergie.

Heaping praise like that on a young man, and then having him back it up on style like he did against Wigan, only convinces me further that Büttner is a United hero of the future.

Furthermore, Büttner could not have arrived at a more perfect club for honing youth talent at a more perfect time.

With Evra now reaching the age at which his ability is dwindling—whilst still being good enough to challenge for the first team—it means that Büttner is really given something to fight for.

Healthy competition for places can only ever be a good thing for a club, with the rival combatants doing all they can to one-up the other.

Whether Büttner wins or loses that particular battle for the regular first-choice left-back role this season is irrelevant.

What is important is the experience he will gain from it whilst the season progresses.

Don’t be surprised to see Fergie swapping between Evra and Büttner frequently this year.

And really, for a player who hasn’t had much time in one of Europe’s top leagues, that may be the best thing. The time on the pitch is always good for any young star trying to adjust to life in a new league, but the time away from it only feeds the desire to be out there in the first place.

If he carries himself professionally and approaches his United career with the correct attitude, then the sky is the limit for young Mr. Büttner.

Kanchelskis, Stam, Irwin, Vidic and perhaps most fittingly of all, Evra, are a handful of foreign defenders who did just that and have earned their place in United folklore.

Büttner may very well be the next name being added to that prestigious list.


Follow me on Twitter @Eddie_Edmonds


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