Ferguson - Brown is best

United boss hails versatile defender

Brown: Looking fantastic

Brown: Looking fantastic

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Sir Alex Ferguson has labelled Wes Brown as the 'best natural defender in the country', when he is fully fit.

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The Manchester United boss has been forced to turn to the Old Trafford stalwart of late after seeing the heart of his back four decimated by injuries.

Rio Ferdinand has been sidelined by a long-standing back problem, while both John O'Shea and Jonny Evans picked up knocks during the recent international break.

That has placed added responsibility on the shoulders of Nemanja Vidic and his new defensive partner, Brown.

The make-shift pairing have fared admirably, despite their limited understanding, and Ferguson insists that is testament to Brown's ability to be able to slip seamlessly into the side when required.

"When Wes Brown is fit, he is the best natural defender in the country," he said.

"I keep thinking he is only 22 or 23 but we were doing a summary of our players' ages and contracts the other day and I saw Wes is 30.

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"But he has such a young approach to life which you have to pay tribute to the lad for.

"He has done well to deal with all the things he has had to deal with and still come out fighting."

He added: "Players need a run of games to achieve consistency and get the timing and tempo of their game correct.

"We are seeing that at the moment. Now he is fit again and looking fantastic, he gets better all the time. Long may it continue."

While running an eye over player contracts, Ferguson established that Vidic's current deal runs until 2012.

The Serbian has, however, admitted that he would be willing to prolong his association with United, and Ferguson has revealed that the situation will be assessed in due course.

"Nemanja's contract runs until 2012, which is a good bit away but the time will always come when good players' contracts come under review," he said.