During his long tenure at Man United, Sir Alex Ferguson oversaw a steady assembly line of young academy graduates make the step up to the first time, and defender Jonny Evans was among the last crop to make the grade under the legendary manager’s tutelage.
In fact, Ferguson rated Evans so highly, that he was astonished at the fact that Louis van Gaal chose to sell him, according to Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill.
The 47-year-old revealed: “September after last year’s Euros, there was a conference in France for the coaches and Sir Alex was there talking about it.
“He openly said to me that he could not believe Van Gaal had sold Jonny from United, because having seen him come through, he felt Jonny would spend his whole career at United or certainly to the latter stages of his career”
Having overcome his injury problems, Evans has since gone on to establish himself as a stalwart for both club and country.
After helping West Brom to a respectable tenth place in the Premier League last year, he is now one of the main cogs in a Northern Ireland team primed for a playoff spot in order to qualify for next year’s World Cup finals in Russia.
And, his manager is keen to point out that he believes Evans to be one of the best British centre-backs playing his trade in the Premier League.
His performances have certainly caught the eye of other teams, with Leicester City recently having a $10million bid turned down by the Baggies, who are reportedly set to offer the defensive lynchpin improved terms of $100,000 per week and the club captaincy in an effort to keep him at the club.
And, on current evidence, few would deny that he’s worth it.
Written by Naren Madan
Freelance writer with an insatiable appetite for all things football. Up the Chels!