Evans: I feel connected to emerging Reds
Manchester United defender Jonny Evans says being able to relate to our rising young players’ journeys has been particularly beneficial upon his return to the club this summer.
Evans came through our Academy ranks during his inaugural spell at United and went on to establish himself as part of the first-team furniture, making nearly 200 appearances for our senior side after his debut in 2007.
Nearly 16 years later, he is back where his professional journey started - by way of West Brom and Leicester City, following his Old Trafford departure in 2015 - and tells us in an exclusive interview after re-joining the club on Friday that his experience on the pathway through our ranks is something that he feels has generated a special bond with the current crop of emerging fledgling Reds.
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“And even whenever I left Manchester United in the past, you'd see all the Academy players around, you always feel like you've got a bond or a connection. So, it's been amazing for me to be back with them in the dressing room. I've loved that.
“I’ve loved seeing them progress and knowing what I was feeling at that sort of stage in my career, and in my life, and sort of all the things that they're going through in their head.
“It’s good to see and it's made me feel very young again and it's made me feel like I've been able to sort of get back into that mindset that they've been in where, you know, you're trying to come into this first team every day and impress and show the manager what you can do.”
Erik ten Hag has spoken over the summer about the wealth of experience that Jonny can offer his players, and there is little doubting that the 35-year-old’s new team-mates will be able to tap into his knowledge by being around him this season.
That is just one of the ways in which Evans aims to play his part throughout his one-year deal, though.
“There’s a lot of professionalism that has to go into that. It's a different type of challenge for me, to make sure I'm physically ready and mentally ready for games. And that's something that I'm looking forward to the challenge of.”