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In Focus: Evans rolls back the years as United build momentum
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Mitchell Fretton
Jonny Evans provided an assist for Manchester United in the win over Burnley
Jonny Evans provided an assist for Manchester United in the win over Burnley

Jonny Evans was called to arms for Manchester United at the weekend as their injury crisis rumbles on.

The veteran centre-back was signed on a one-year deal in the summer after impressing Erik ten Hag in training.

And having provided a superb assist in the 1-0 win over Burnley on Saturday, the 35-year-old may be recalled for the Carabao Cup clash against Crystal Palace tonight.

Ahead of the match, we turn the spotlight on the Northern Ireland international.

Unexpected arrival

Fans were left surprised when news broke of Evans' return to United during pre-season after the defender's deal at Leicester expired.

His initial work at Carrington impressed Ten Hag, who opted to offer the 104-cap international a short-term deal at the club where he originally broke through.

After being absent from the squad for the first three Premier League games, Evans made a six-minute cameo in the loss to Arsenal and was on the bench against Brighton.

His first start came at Turf Moor in the absence of Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane and his experience shone through on the big stage.

The former West Brom anchor helped United keep a clean sheet and delivered a delightful ball for Bruno Fernandes to rifle home on the volley.

Good thing going

Jonny Evans was at the heart of the action against Burnley
Jonny Evans was at the heart of the action against Burnley

Evans insists that Ten Hag is having a positive impact at United despite their rocky start to the 2023-24 campaign.

He said: "I've had some up and down moments at Manchester United over the years.

"I think you get that if you want to be at the top. You know it's going to be very up and down.

"You've got to be able to deal with setbacks and this club is a fantastic club who always want to be challenging at the top, so it's all part and parcel of it.

"The manager's got a good thing going here."

Not done yet

Defenders can perform at their top level well into their thirties and Evans is proving he can compete with other seasoned centre-backs in the Premier League.

The ex-Sunderland commander led the way in the match against Burnley for clearances completed (eight), aerial duels won (three) and through balls completed (one).

He was eventually withdrawn in the closing stages for debutant Sofyan Amrabat, but it was a night to remember for Evans on his 200th appearance for United.

Ten Hag will be encouraged by what he saw on the pitch and can take comfort in knowing that he has a capable backup in the defensive third.

Rio's admission

Jonny Evans assisted Bruno Fernandes against Burnley
Jonny Evans assisted Bruno Fernandes against Burnley

United legend Rio Ferdinand praised Evans after his performance on Saturday and admitted the club made a mistake by letting him leave in 2015.

He said: "He's not the long-term answer and he would tell you that himself, he is an honest player, honest pro. 

"He's had a fantastic career. I don't think he should have ever been allowed to leave the club when he did anyway.

"Jonny Evans is made of strong stuff and he won't make it easy for anybody."

Evans is in line to play against Palace this evening as United look to start their Carabao Cup campaign with a win at Old Trafford.


Manchester UnitedPremier LeagueJonny Evans
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