Jonny Evans' up-and-down Manchester United career has failed to really take off. Don't get me wrong, the Northern Irishman deserves a great deal of credit for his seven seasons in the first-team setup at Old Trafford, but his time could now be up.
Evans has racked up four Premier League titles at the Theatre of Dreams, however there has always been something stopping the 27-year-old from really pushing on in Manchester.
The back up role
Of course, back when he first entered the frame under Sir Alex Ferguson, he had to play back up to the duo of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. That was always going to prove tricky.
Ferdinand and Vidic in their prime were on another level to Evans; they were superior in every way. However, Evans had one thing going for him, and that was his age. Ultimately, he knew that if he stuck around for long enough then his chance would come to prove his credentials on the grandest stage on a permanent basis.
In truth, that time arrived for Evans before the departures of Ferdinand and Vidic. In their final years at United, the duo failed to stay fit on a regular basis, handing Evans the opportunity to shine - and ultimately take his place in the starting XI.
52. That's the number of Premier League appearances the defender made in Sir Alex Ferguson's final two seasons in charge at the club. That's not bad going.
However, the 2013/14 season was one to forget for Evans: from numerous hamstring injuries to back problems, the defender managed just 17 Premier League appearances for the side.
And to make matters worse, out of his final five league matches last term, Manchester United lost four of them: 2-1 at home to Tottenham, 3-1 away at Chelsea, 2-1 away at Stoke and 2-1 away at Everton. That's not ideal.
This season, though, with Vidic and Ferdinand out of the way, Evans would have been desperate to prove himself under the Louis van Gaal regime.
It started terribly, however. Failing to prove his fitness in the early stages of the campaign, his first game under Van Gaal came at League One outfit MK Dons. A four nil defeat followed and an inquest began.
From the starting XI that played on that humiliating evening for the club, just four remain: David de Gea, Nick Powell, Saidy Janko (now on loan at Bolton) and ultimately Evans.
And since that disastrous night, things haven't exactly improved for Evans. The injuries have continued and he's failed to find his best form. In fact, the duo of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo now appear to be Van Gaal's first choice pairing at the club.
United's vulnerable defence has been blasted all season long, but many will suggest that Evans isn't even good enough to get into it. He has been unlucky; things could have turned out differently if he had starred on a regular basis and kept himself fit, but he's never going to become a consistent figure in the Manchester United back-line.
If Van Gaal is serious about challenging for the Premier League title next term, then he must sort out his defence. Ultimately that means moving Evans on and bringing in a dependable replacement.
Manchester United fans: Do you agree? Is it time for Evans to leave your club? Have your say in the comments section below!
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