Patrice Evra recently took part in a webchat with fans in China in which, among other things, he spoke about what is required to be a full-back at the highest level…
What is your advice to become a successful full-back?
You have to love to attack and you have to love to defend. That’s the speciality of the full-back: running up and down, crossing the ball and getting back quickly afterwards. But it’s about finding the right balance – that’s the most important thing. When I played at Monaco I was a more attacking player and didn’t defend as well, but I improved that part of my game a lot when I joined United, so that now I am first a defender, and secondly an attacker. So my biggest advice is to find that balance. I was looking for it before I joined United, and found it straight away when I arrived here.
What are the training essentials for a full-back?
Full-back is a really important position and a difficult one, which is why you have to train hard every day. You have to attack and defend together, so in training I try to find the right balance, because if you don’t do that, you’ll never be a good left-back. If you attack too much, people say "OK, he’s a good attacker, but he doesn’t defend well". And if you just defend, they say you have to attack more. That’s why I think it’s one of the most difficult positions in football.
What is the most important quality you need to be a United player?
To always be fit and play at your highest level, because at United if you play just a normal game you can find yourself on the bench: someone’s always ready to replace you. That’s why I know I have to work hard every day to fight for my place – even if I’m playing every game. The day I stop working hard, Sir Alex will put me on the bench. I know this, which is why I wake up feeling lucky every day and I thank God I’m playing for Manchester United.