Former Manchester United star Patrice Evra has revealed that Louis van Gaal wanted him to stay at Old Trafford and become the captain following Nemanja Vidic’s departure to Inter Milan.
According to the Daily Mail the France international has shed light on an extraordinary notion that Van Gaal wanted him to skipper United moving forward prior to his move to Juventus - which was confirmed last week. And the revelations may shock some, who see either Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie as the natural successors to Vidic with regards to being handed the armband.
As has been well documented Van Gaal has yet to make a definitive decision over who will captain his United side in his transitional era at the club, though Evra’s comments would appear to indicate that whoever takes up the mantle now was only ever deemed second choice. The 33-year-old was unabashed as he reportedly told Sky Sports that the United boss was disappointed to see him leave, but that it was a decision he had to make.
“Manchester United wanted to keep me and they also wanted to give me the captain's band,” he said.
“Van Gaal was disappointed to see me go away, but I had already made a choice.”
Initially the rumours concerning Evra’s imminent departure to Turin were considered somewhat controversial, as the Frenchman only signed a one-year deal prior to leaving for the World Cup. Rumours began to spread that the new contract had been agreed so that his club could recoup a maximum amount for his services - as opposed to letting him leave for nothing - and they were offered credence when it emerged soon after that he had consented to a move to Juve.
The left-back decided to end his eight year tenure at Old Trafford following the arrival of Luke Shaw, and there can be no doubting that first-team football was on his mind. With his advancing years it makes sense to assume that getting game-time at United, particularly with Van Gaal’s extremely high fitness expectations, could have become a problem, whereas at Juve he can continue playing regular football.
Next United captain
Now the question many United fans are asking is just who will be given the armband as the team look to put last season’s woes behind them. The aforementioned duo of Van Persie and Rooney are the obvious candidates, but rumours persist in suggesting that it could be an unfancied individual who gets the nod if Van Gaal is truly wanting to install a completely fresh sense of change.
Tom Cleverley and Darren Fletcher have captained the side in three pre-season fixtures thus far (Fletcher twice, Cleverley once), though it’s unlikely either man will be given the duties in the long-term.