I have in the past been as critical of Patrice Evra as just about anybody but with his days at Old Trafford looking numbered I’m all too happy to change my tune and come out in defence of the Frenchman.
While plenty of the experienced Manchester United players have let David Moyes down this season, both on and off the field, the same cannot be said of Evra who has if anything been better this season than he has the previous campaign or two.
The likes of Nemanja Vidic has failed to produce his best performances at the heart of the United's defence and has certainly not performed his captaincy duties with any conviction.
Evra meanwhile has performed admirably and has spoken candidly about the shortcomings of himself and his teammates, speaking of a desire to win and a hunger to do better. The Frenchman will be 33 by the time the next season kicks off but I still feel there is more than a big enough role for him to play.
Alexander Buttner is certainly not good enough to step into to Evra’s first team role and nor will he ever be which would leave Moyes realistically looking for two left backs in the summer should Evra depart.
Fabio Coentrao has been linked with a move to Old Trafford several times this season but the Portuguese left back has struggled for game time at Real Madrid this season as well as suffering from injuries while United are reportedly favourites to capture Southampton wonderkid Luke Shaw in the summer.
Either arrival would need time to adapt, be it Coentrao to the Premier League or Shaw to his new surroundings and in both cases Evra’s presence would be a valuable asset.
Evra moved to United in his mid-twenties and suffered a baptism of fire against local rivals Manchester City, in truth it took him 18 months to find his feet and improve defensively.
Coentrao is a similarly buccaneering full-back who may well be found out on defensive examination while Shaw at just 18 is still learning much about his own game and defending at the highest level.
Off the pitch, Evra is an influential figure in the United dressing room and provides much needed experience given the impending exit of Ferdinand and Vidic.
There is talk that Evra wishes to return to France with his family but with the right new acquisition Moyes’ could manage the full back's training regime and matches to allow him the time he needs with his family be it here or in France.
United are set for a revolution in the summer with numerous players departing and new faces arriving, some have been a disruptive influence to Moyes but Evra has been a port in stormy seas and could still prove to be a valuable asset to the Scotsman.
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