Zlatan Ibrahimovic backs Victor Lindelof to become a regular starter at Manchester United

by Leo Nieboer

Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes that Victor Lindelof will eventually hold down a place in Jose Mourinho’s starting XI at Manchester United.

The defender, who arrived for £31.5m in the summer, initially struggled for minutes at Man United and had to wait until November 18 to make his first Premier League start.

He then made five starts over the festive period and recently pleased supporters with a composed, battling display during the 2-1 win over Chelsea.

And Ibrahimovic, speaking earlier this week, insisted that the 23-year-old would continue to grow in a red shirt.

“I think it has been tough, it has not been easy,” he said. “There was great expectations and he did not get much game time.”

“We talk every day, he grows and gets better. It’s all about getting into it and taking a place in the team. It is about confidence and finding his role.

“I try to support Vigge all the time and he trains really hard. And he really wants to do his best. He is good.”

Eric Bailly took to life in the Premier League straight away, bludgeoning opposition forwards with crunching tackles and aerial duels, tearing around the field in a kind of bullish frenzy, approaching every minute with a do or die attitude.

And Lindelof, in comparison, can appear slightly underwhelming. But this is a defender who goes about his game in an utterly different way.

While the Ivorian’s combative nature is integral to his approach on the pitch, Lindelof’s style is built on the back of the finer details: how he positions himself, holds the ball, moves play through the lines, spots fires before they start.

To recalibrate these vital parts of his game through the prism of English football and its ferocious pace was always going to be a challenge, but the Swede – still in his first season, we must remember – is steadily and surely growing in stature under Mourinho.

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