Patrice Evra has hailed United’s new generation of young talent as “amazing” and says he will do all he can to help nurture them into champions.
Thirty-year-old Evra captained the Reds to a 3-0 victory against Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night and was the oldest player in Sir Alex’s starting XI by almost four years. His fellow defenders clocked in at just 19, 21 and 23 years of age.
“Don’t say that, don’t say that!” he joked afterwards when asked how it felt to be “the old man” of the team, before going on to praise his young team-mates.
“I’m really happy with the performance. The young players deserve this and you have to give them a lot of credit. A lot of people talk about the Academy and they showed tonight [what they can do]. It’s amazing. In the Community Shield, against West Brom… the boss is not afraid to play young players.
“They have such composure. They want to prove to the manager that they are ready to play on the team. It’s good for us because we need some energy and they have that. I’m not surprised because they played well during pre-season and they are all confident.”
As one of the senior members of the squad, Evra is acutely aware of his role in the young players’ development. And it’s a responsibility he’s not going to shirk.
“We have lost a lot of experienced players like Edwin [van der Sar], Paul Scholes and Gary Neville, but you can see now that the team is very fresh, it has a lot of energy and the football is quick. The [young players] just have to keep going and it’s up to players like myself, Rio and Vidic to make sure they keep [developing].”
One youngster Evra was particularly impressed with on Monday night was David De Gea. The young goalkeeper had come in for criticism after the goals he conceded against Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion, but in his competitive home debut at Old Trafford the Spanish Under-21 international shone.
“He was very good, with his feet, with everything,” Evra said. “I said to him afterwards that the crowd was behind him. That’s important and you have to say thank you to all the