|Birthdate:||09 Aug 1977|
|Joined United:||02 Sep 1999|
|United Debut:||11 Sep 1999 v Liverpool (A)|
Mikael Silvestre is one of the most experienced members of Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad. In fact, at the end of the 2006/07 season, only four members of the current side had played for United more times.
This impressive record owes much to Mikael’s ability to play in two different positions: centre-back and left-back. As such, he’s survived the threat posed by new acquisitions and been invaluable to the manager when others have been suspended or injured. In the latter stages of 2005/06, he was the one patrolling Gabriel Heinze’s patch on the left flank while new-boy Nemanja Vidic partnered central lynchpin Rio Ferdinand.
The return to left-back, where he’d once been resident, enabled Silvestre to show off some of his attacking skills, including a pinpoint cross for Wayne Rooney’s goal against Arsenal in April 2006. He later described that 2-0 win for United as the best match of his career.
"I was up against Alexandr Hleb and Emmanuel Adebayor, but I achieved the objectives I set myself. I had a huge amount of determination. It was a benchmark game for me,” he said.
Silvestre then went to the 2006 World Cup, where he played in France's 2-0 win over Togo.
He started United's 2006/07 season in sparkling form, playing in the first six matches and scoring the opener in United's 2-1 victory at Vicarage Road. But an injury sustained against Arsenal in September saw countryman Patrice Evra step into his shoes and he never truly won back his spot in the team. It wasn't until November that Silvestre enjoyed his next spell of regular football, where top performances against Portsmouth, Everton and Aston Villa appeared to do wonders for his confidence.
Yet Silvestre played just four times over the next two months. February saw him get a few more games under his belt, including both
FA Cup ties against Reading, before a strong showing at Anfield guaranteed him a place when Lille visited Old Trafford in the Champions League. Disaster struck, however, when Silvestre landed awkwardly in injury time and dislocated his right shoulder.
It was a cruel blow for the French international and for Sir Alex, who could have done with Silvestre's defensive cover in the tense title run-in.