The evolution of Jonny Evans

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If transfers were completed by a majority fans vote, then Jonny Evans would no doubt of packed his bags and left Old Trafford a long time ago.

The Irishman has endured heavy criticism from every section of the Old Trafford crowd in recent seasons, but last term was by far his best to date and the 25-year-old put himself straight into contention for any game at the heart of United’s defence whether it be an early round League Cup tie or even a vital title decider. 

Evans is without a doubt the reason Sir Alex Ferguson had not purchased an immediate first choice centre-back since the signing of Nemanja Vidic in 2006 and would no doubt be a major reason why David Moyes could stick with his current batch of defenders for his first season in charge. 

The defender has notched 156 appearances in a United shirt, which is no mean feat for a player not seen as a regular starter.

Last season the United youth product silenced his critics both inside and outside of Old Trafford by playing his way into the United team, after club captain Vidic was injured for around six weeks at the start of the season. Evans grasped his opportunity with both hands and played his way into the manager’s plans. 

Even with both Rio Ferdinand and Vidic fit, Evans was often given the nod in big games, the most notable game being the away leg versus Real Madrid, where Evans displayed strength and maturity in one of the most difficult away fixtures in football for any side.

The Irish defender made his Manchester United debut in a 2007 League Cup defeat to Coventry, but it wasn’t until 2008 against Villarreal that Evans really broke through into the United first team.

His first season was no doubt a promising one, however the seasons in between then and now were not so convincing, and saw him fall down the centre half pecking order. 

Evans claims the turning point in his Old Trafford career was the red card he received in the infamous 6-1 defeat to rivals City in the 2011/12 season. 

This gave him the wake-up call he needed to turn his career around and become a player that his manager, the team and the fans can rely on to do his job, and do it well.

And so we turn to next season, what does the future hold for Evans under Moyes? 

The smart money would be that, should he pick up where he left off last term, Evans has a bright future under Moyes. 

His gritty 'no nonsense' style of defending suits Moyes down to a tee, his only stumbling block could be the players around him. 

With Phil Jones another year older and more experienced he is surely set for a big season at Old Trafford. Also the old guard of Ferdinand and Vidic are still top quality defenders when fit, not to mention the prospect that is Chris Smalling.

If Evans continues his fantastic form then he could leave Moyes no chance but to make him a first choice centre-back at the Theatre Of Dreams, however should a new central defender be purchased or even if those already at the club come to the forefront.

Evans could well find himself fighting a losing battle to become a stalwart at Old Trafford.


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