No defensive exodus

Last updated : 23 February 2003 By Martyn Elliott

Many had predicted that the arrival of Jonathan Woodgate would lead to the departure of the likes of Nikos Dabizas and Steve Caldwell, but selling players doesn’t seem to interest the manager.

"I'm not looking to sell anybody, I'm not looking to move anybody out," Sir Bobby told the Sunday Sun.

"Nikos Dabizas is on a contract and I still rate him, Steve Caldwell has done very well and never let us down. I'm going to have a chat with Steve. I'd like to keep them.

"I have in my mind what I think is our best back four. It's very close, there's not much difference between some of the players.

"It's just the beginning for Bramble. When you're 20 and you've come from a team that's been relegated to a big club like this that's a big step. He's making less errors now and he's looking very good. He's a colossus.

"Aaron Hughes is a very good player, a good reader of the game. He is a very intelligent footballer and there are so many positions he can play, even in the heart of midfield."

The comments appear to indicate that Steve Caldwell will be offered a new deal to replace the one that expires at the end of the season.

But the Scot has previously said that he wants regular first team football in order to help him cement a starting place in the national team – unfortunately he only seems to be sixth choice centre back in Sir Bobby’s eyes.

With his highly-rated brother due to return to United after a year-long loan at Coventry in the summer it would seem that Steve’s first team opportunities will be severely limited.