The Debate: 'Consistent Evans never lets you down'
One of the topics of discussion between the panellists in the latest episode of The Debate was the return of Jonny Evans to the club.
The experienced centre-back came through the ranks at United and made almost 200 senior appearances under Sir Alex Ferguson, before departing in 2015.
After leaving Leicester City - where he won the FA Cup in 2021 - at the end of last season, the Northern Ireland international has been training with the Reds and signed a short-term contract in order to feature in pre-season.
Wearing the number 27 shirt, he was a solid presence at the heart of the defence alongside young Will Fish in the second half of Wednesday’s 1-0 friendly win over Lyon in Scotland.
The MUTV panel were certainly enthused by his performance and would welcome the deal becoming more permanent. This is what they had to say…
“If they do make Jonny’s contract longer, I think it would be very good. I think for the younger generation coming up I think Jonny will be brilliant. I think a lot of us sitting here were disappointed when he was sold anyway, especially for the fee he went for, he was one of the better centre halves that we could have kept. I’ll be happy if they did extend it, definitely.”
“Eight years [since he left] have flown by and he’s gone away and played a lot of games. He never lets you down Jonny, he’s always consistent. I think when we were watching the game [against Lyon], one of the balls went up and Denis [Irwin] said that’s meat and drink, it’s easy peasy for Jonny. He’s consistent in what he does and you could see him marshalling the defence. He’s a great addition to any squad. How many games he would play and all that would obviously depend on what he did if he did come in long term and what he did in the building but I don’t think you would see anybody disappointed if Jonny signed.”
“The manager shows what a character he is and how good of a manager he is. He realises that he’s missing a lot of experienced players in the squad at the moment and so Jonny went into train, he’s been impressed with him and so he’s thinking [about] the way Jonny talks on the training pitch, the way he talks in matches and organises people. He must be looking saying I’ve got all the young kids with me, this is a great experience for them to play with someone like Jonny Evans who talks, organises and hopefully that rubs off on some of the kids.”
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“You saw in the second half [against Lyon] he’s got Will Fish alongside him, obviously Brandon [Williams] has had a bit more experience at left-back, [Marc] Jurado on the right inexperienced, [Matej] Kovar behind him, Dan Gore in front of him. You do need one experienced player in there and Jonny fits that bill perfectly. As the lads were saying, he’s just organised and in the right position. I actually don’t think they [Lyon] had a chance in the second half. I thought he marshalled the troops very well and that’s what he’s there to do.”
“First and foremost, I think it’s a great gesture. As a club, we also need to make sure we know how to treat our more revered players, heroes like Jonny Evans. He’s been an absolutely faithful and loyal servant for Manchester United over the years he played in the past. If he’s looking for a club or whatever it is, just the pure opportunity of him being able to join the lads on tour [is great]. Pre-season is always going to be massive for any player and, for someone like Jonny Evans who is looking for another club, to have that training under his belt, especially with the intensity that I’m pretty sure he’s going to experience under Erik ten Hag, I think that’s going to be great for him. If he’s going to sign, I would personally like to see that, just for the sake of having a little more experience in the dressing room. There’s always a good chance for youth players to develop with that much more deeper and wholesome experience if they have players like Jonny Evans around.”