debut against Coventry, Keane came calling again and took Evans back to the Stadium of Light for another six months.
After returning from Wearside, he featured in every one of United's 2008/09 pre-season games, a telling precursor of the youngster's growing status in the eyes of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Sure enough, Evans quickly became the Reds' contingency plan for whenever the rock-solid partnership of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic was broken up, filling the breach in every competition - including the Reds' Club World Cup final and League Cup final victories, while 16 Premier League starts ensured a hat-trick of medals for the defender.
A further 18 appearances, including the League Cup final win over Aston Villa, followed in 2009/10, and he was also called upon at the start of 2010/11 in the absence of Ferdinand through injury.
Later in the season Evans found himself competing with summer signing Chris Smalling for his place, and in March he picked up a straight red card for a tackle on Bolton's Stuart Holden. But the campaign finished on a high note as 13 league appearances were enough to earn Evans another winners' medal.
The 2011/12 season was arguably Evans' best in a red shirt. Deputising for the injured Vidic, he made 28 league