David Moyes Needs Man United's Senior Players to Look Past Uncertain Futures

Rob DawsonManchester United CorrespondentFebruary 28, 2014

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Together, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra have played more than 1,000 games for Manchester United.

The number is 1,090 to be exact, amassed over a combined 30 years at Old Trafford. 

During that time they have won 30 major trophies between them. 

They have been part of League Cup and FA Cup finals. And they made up three-quarters of the back four that helped win the 2008 Champions League final against Chelsea.

Petros Giannakouris/Associated Press

When Evra passes his 33rd birthday in May—four days after the final game of the season—they will have a combined age of 100.

But between now and then they will face one final challenge.

United are never more than one game away from crisis, and they've won one of their last five.

They're sixth in the Premier League table, 11 points behind Liverpool in fourth and 15 behind leaders Chelsea. 

They are out of both domestic cup competitions and stand on the brink of being dumped out of the Champions League by unfancied Olympiacos.

United need their senior players—Vidic, Ferdinand and Evra—more now than ever. But the situation is complicated by their uncertain futures.

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Vidic has already given notice of his intention to leave at the end of the season. Ferdinand and Evra are both nearing the end of their contracts with no indication from either that they intend to stay.

It's far from ideal for David Moyes.

In a perfect world, Vidic, captain and leader, would be inspiring the dressing room with speeches Winston Churchill would be proud of.

But trying to convince some of the younger players, Tom Cleverley say, or Chris Smalling, that "we're all in it together" might sound a little hollow when everyone knows he's off in the summer.

Evra told the Manchester Evening News this week that Moyes has the backing of the players.

There was a big change, it must be digested. Nobody likes change.

The team played for over 28 years with Alex Ferguson.

It is behind the new manager, we will do everything to qualify for the next Champions League.

But again, it was hardly a ringing endorsement. 

Moyes, though, will be unconcerned whether his senior players back him in public or not. 

Jon Super/Associated Press

But he does need Evra, Vidic and Ferdinand—especially those three—to back him with their performances on the pitch.

The trio, as well as Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick, are Moyes' core group of senior players. The ones who can lead by example as United try to dig themselves out of trouble.

But they are not playing for their futures. They are not playing to impress Moyes. And for the first time in a long time they are not playing for trophies.

But they are playing for pride—United's more so than their own. And Moyes must hope that's enough.