Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed the time will soon come when Jonny Evans will force his way into the Manchester United line-up by right.
Currently Evans is being used as a very able deputy for Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, but with Vidic's long-term future still open to question and Ferdinand's long-standing back injury keeping him on the sidelines, Evans has had plenty of chances to shine.
"Sometimes I don't know whether I am doing the right thing leaving Jonny out because his performance level has been so high," said Ferguson. "At times I have been unfair to him. But he is still young. He has a great future here and time will come when I have to put him in."
He added: "The great thing about footballers and young players in particular is that one summer they come back and they are a different player.
"They have a different physique and they tell you by their performance that it is time for them to go into the team.
"It has happened countless times at this club and I would think it is a great worry for any experienced player that one of their own is going to take their place."
It was not quite a warning for Vidic and Rio but it is a clear statement that, at 22, Ferguson views Evans as a man for the future.
There was certainly no worries last term when Evans had to step in.
The Belfast-born star made 31 appearances in total last term, including the Carling Cup final, and he was also introduced as a substitute during the Club World Cup final in Japan after Vidic had been sent off. And the more he was called upon, the more comfortable he felt.
"I did improve last season," he said. "You do have your ups and downs during the season but I got more confident in my own ability as the season went on. I was loving every game because you just want to be involved."
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