Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson belives Victor Lindelof has what it takes to succeed at Manchester United.
The Swede, who enjoyed an excellent World Cup, has been guilty of a series of mistakes in defeats to Brighton and Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspur.
Jamie Carragher bluntly claimed after the Spurs defeat that Lindelof was simply not good enough for this level.
But Eriksson, speaking an interview earlier this week, disagreed with the former Liverpool defender.
“I have to say he did two great mistakes last match, and he was lucky he got away with them,” he said. “But you don’t expect that from him.”
“But we’re talking about a very good football player. For Sweden he’s been fantastic, they got to the [World Cup] quarter-final. He was important in qualification. He is a great player, no doubts about that.
“When you’re criticised as a player or a coach, life is difficult. You have to come back but if you don’t have the manager or the coach defending you, life is even more difficult, much more difficult.
“So I think me, now I’m talking about me, in all the teams I had if it’s a club, you have to defend your players at any cost because if you don’t do that, who is going to defend them? The wife, or the mother or father, yes but you have to stick with them.”
To be told by a former great of the English game that, quite simply, you aren’t good enough constitutes a miserable kick in the teeth. His performance against Spurs – sluggish at times, always jittery, never too far away from a mistake – did little to disprove that notion.
Carragher is right and wrong. We have all seen the core talent Lindelof possesses: his control, his elegance, his reading of the game, his confidence in possession. That talent to succeed at the top level is there. He started for Sweden at the World Cup for a reason. He was bought by Jose Mourinho for a reason.
Implicit his approach, however, lies an unmistakeable iota of shakiness. Some players have a mistake in them, as the saying goes. Lindelof is one of them. That can only be wiped out with experience, by being resolute in the Premier League sense. He does not have that now, and will need to develop it fast before the club – as they planned do to this summer – goes out and buys another defender.