Five things you'll learn from Evra's UTD Podcast
The latest episode of UTD Podcast has landed and it is certainly a must listen!
Former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra joined Helen Evans, Sam Homewood and David May for a fascinating conversation, and it is available to listen to now via Deezer or your favourite podcast provider.
The Frenchman discussed what he learned from Sir Alex Ferguson and revealed what match he would most like to relive.
Patrice also lifted the lid on which team he enjoyed beating the most and recalled how he almost left United to join Real Madrid.
Finally, the Frenchman revealed what his compatriot – and former Red – Eric Cantona told him when he finally met the striker for the first time...
LEARNING LOYALTY FROM THE BOSS
Prior to his arrival at Old Trafford, Evra had fractious relationships with some of his former managers, even mentioning a story where he keyed the car of the Nice manager. However, during his stay at United, the defender revealed how Sir Alex valued opinions from him, and gave an example around a European match:
“I think I learnt loyalty. His door was always open. Before a training session he called me over and I went to his office and he asked me what formation should we play in Europe. I was like: wow, you are asking me, a little Frenchman!
“He asked what was my opinion, and I said I thought if we played 4-3-3 we had so many fast players that we could hurt teams in Europe. He said: ‘Thank you, son, I was thinking the same.’ The next game we played in the Champions League, we played 4-3-3.
“Ferguson is really straight and hard, but he’ll open the door when he knows you are going to be loyal for the club and that you’re going to die for the club. Then, Ferguson will give you everything.”
RELIVING MY DEBUT GAME
In this episode, Patrice spoke at length about the shaky start he had when he moved from AS Monaco to United in January 2006. He had conversations with his agent about whether he had made a mistake, discussed the infamous jacket he wore at his unveiling and revealed that he was given the hairdryer treatment from Sir Alex at half-time in his debut match against Manchester City.
Despite that, the Frenchman stated that his first match in a red shirt is the one he would love to relive if given the chance.
“People ask me: what's your best moment? And they expect me to say something. But I will say the derby, the first game, because everything was new, I receive a big slap on my face. I thought I was a big player!
“My agent [said that he] didn't believe in me in front of his wife! Ferguson giving me the hairdryer. It just made me realise: hey, you will have to work really hard here if you want to be a United player. So that's the moment that I want to relive, because it was a hard moment, but such a positive moment.”
One intriguing question put to the former left-back was which club he enjoyed beating most. During his career at United, Evra and his team-mates got the better of many of our biggest opponents, whether that be Liverpool or our local rivals, Man City, but it was beating the Gunners that really satisfied Patrice.
“Oh, Arsenal! I will tell you my philosophy. Winning against Manchester City was like winning against a neighbour. They're making noise, you just win and it's okay. Winning against Chelsea, it was like: you're going to win the league. Because I think Chelsea was the only team looking exactly like us. I mean like personality, characters, training [well], powerful, speed. I think the best feeling is winning at Anfield against Liverpool. That's the best feeling, but the worst feeling is when you lose at Anfield.
“Arsenal... when we won 3-1 in Emirates, you remember when we scored that great goal in counter-attack with Ji-sung Park, Rooney and Ronaldo? The French journalists after the game were really like: 'Oh, the result doesn't reflect the philosophy of the game.' I was like, 'Are you serious? I feel like today was just 11 men and against 11 babies'.
“I respect so much this club, but it was just my feeling when I played against them – I know I'm going to win. I'll be honest with you, I played against this player, and after 34 minutes they were asking, 'Patrice, can we swap shirts at half-time?' So I was like: I've already won the game.”
NEARLY SIGNING FOR REAL MADRID
Things could have been very different for Evra, who confessed that he almost switched from United to Real Madrid in the summer of 2010. However, Sir Alex's man-management skills came to the fore, which resulted in Patrice recommitting his future to the club by signing a four-year deal. The defender revealed that, in the end, the decision was easy for him.
“I remember after the 2010 World Cup, we were in pre-season in Chicago and I called the boss and told him I would sign for Madrid. He told me to come and see him in Chicago and I took a plane straight away. The boss was so shocked to see and he saw how serious I was. He told me to come back to him in a week in Manchester and he would give me a final answer, but he said he was on my side and would help me. I said, ‘Boss, the only thing I need is for you to let me go. Anyway, I’m at the end of my contract so you have to let me go’.
“He told me not to worry, to have a nice weekend and he gave me an extra week of holiday. So when I was back at Carrington, I asked where the boss was and everyone said he wasn’t in today. I was surprised that he told me to come in and he’s not even in. The next day I was so angry and I knocked the door of his office. I told him I was waiting for him yesterday and he asked me what I wanted. He told me he was sorry and he was looking everywhere to try and sign another left-back, but he couldn’t find one like me. I said, 'Of course, you need to find a different one, not one like me. I’m unique!’
“He shook my hand, told me to trust him and that I had to sign for another four years. Even my agent played a part. The commission was so big for Madrid and it wasn’t the same for Manchester United. He told me if I went there I would be richer but my mentality, my attitude and my philosophy was Manchester United, so I had to stay at this club even if they offer less money. My choice was really easy and when I signed I was the happiest person in the world.”
WHAT HE SAID TO THE KING
Finally, Evra spoke of his admiration for fellow Frenchman Eric Cantona. Patrice dedicated his first league title to the striker and complimented him on what the United great had done for French footballers.
“When he came for the first time in Old Trafford and I met him I was like: wow. When I won my first league I was with the French flag and there was a picture of Eric in the middle. I dedicated my first league for Eric for a simple reason. Because in my head, even when I met him, I met him seven months ago and I was like, every time I played I was playing with a massive pressure, because I wanted to respect what you have done.
“He opened the door for the French player and I wanted to make sure I respected that tradition. I remember Eric gave me one of the best compliments. 'Patrice, you do more than leaving that door open, so well done.' Having that compliment from The King, I was so happy.”
You can listen to the rest of the incredible interview, as well as previous UTD Podcast episodes via all your favourite podcast platforms, including Deezer.
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