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Football

When Dimitar Berbatov Filled In At Centre Back For Manchester United

Ryan Sidle

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When Dimitar Berbatov Filled In At Centre Back For Manchester United

Dimitar Berbatov is best known for his skill, first touch and ability to score goals but the former Manchester United forward once covered at centre back perfectly for Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

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The striker scored 56 goals in 149 appearances for United, winning the Premier League twice, the FIFA World Club Cup and the League Cup, as well as being a Champions League runner-up.

However one night in 2011 he also had to show off how good he could be anywhere on the pitch, as his defending helped United keep a clean sheet.

Fergie's side played Leeds United in the League Cup 3rd round in front of a packed out Elland Road and two goals for Michael Owen and one for Ryan Giggs gave the Premier League side a 3-0 advantage.

The visitors had made all three subs when debutant Zeki Fryers went off injured with 10 minutes to go, leaving Berba to have to fill in at the back. The former Spurs player even managed to pull off two goal line clearances in one move, as United kept their clean sheet.

United had beaten Chelsea 3-1 the previous weekend, and the manager made 11 changes to the side who'd won in the league to face then Championship side Leeds.

Michael Carrick started alongside debutant Fryers in defence, so when the youngster went off later in the game it was the experienced midfielder who partnered Berbatov in one of the oddest centre back duos anyone is likely to see.

The match also marked a debut for one Paul Pogba, the midfielder replaced Giggs at half-time, whilst Larnell Cole also made his first appearance.

Pogba high fives his teammate after making his first team debut. Image: PA Images
Pogba high fives his teammate after making his first team debut. Image: PA Images

It wasn't a significant win for the Red Devils though, they won in the fourth round against Aldershot Town, a game in which Berbatov scored, but were knocked about by Championship side Crystal Palace in the next round.

Darren Ambrose incredible strike was the standout moment as the south London team won 2-1 after extra time, in a game where 19-year-old Wilfried Zaha impressed for the visitors to Old Trafford. Ravel Morrison and Pogba came on for United in the game but couldn't help their side.

These days Berbatov is just as likely to attack United as he is to defend them in the press but he did recently suggest that Mason Greenwood could be as good as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Saying that the two greats would eventually be replaced, the 40-year-old said, "We have Neymar, Mbappe, Greenwood, and other young players that can hopefully reach the highs of Ronaldo and Messi, as unbelievable as that may seem."

Featured Image Credit: PA/YouTube

Topics: Football News, Carabao Cup, Manchester United, Dimitar Berbatov, Premier League, League Cup, Leeds United

Ryan Sidle
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