England legend Terry Butcher is impressed by the versatility of Manchester United's young defenders.

The Inverness Caley manager wrote in his column for the Mirror: "Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are two great ­examples of central ­defenders who have shown a brilliant aptitude to play at right-back.

"The Manchester United duo are better defenders than the Da Silva twins and are relaxed and comfortable when on the ball, ­especially in advanced areas.

"Both are ­extremely positive going forward and do not panic when under pressure despite their ­relative inexperience.

"If Sir Alex Ferguson wants you to play out of your ­normal position, then that's what happens - at other clubs these two youngsters would never have been moved out of their ­comfort zones. But this is Manchester United and Sir Alex's perception will ­improve both players' ­understanding of the game.

"Thirty years ago Sir Bobby Robson moved me to left back to play against the first £1million footballer - Trevor Francis of Nottingham ­Forest - and I played there for over 50 more games including a ­European semi-final.

"It would seem then that Sir Alex is going full-back to the future for both Jones and Smalling!"

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