The Red Report: New faces welcomed, the Evans conundrum & the World Cup

Jonny Evans on the receiving end of some physical play from Kevin DaviesThis weeks player discussion is Jonny Evans – what’s going on and what does is future hold?

Nick | United Youth: Found myself at the centre of bit of a twit-storm regarding Jonny during the West Ham game. Defended him at half-time when I felt he was unfairly being scapegoated, and although he did his best to make me look ridiculous with his second-half showing, I stand by what I said. No issue with people criticising his performances, as it’s impossible to deny he’s massively off-form right now and his defending for the third and fourth West Ham goals on Tuesday was cataclysmically bad. My issue is and has been that too many people have been too quick to write him off after the first dodgy spell of his short career, too quick to forget how impressive he’s been in the past.

He’s got a big challenge ahead to rebuild his confidence and regain the manager’s trust, but he deserves the opportunity to do so given the ability he’s previously shown. We bemoan the lack of young players coming through, so when we do get a good’un, we need to stick by them through rough and smooth. It’s rarely plain sailing, especially for young defenders, and I’m confident he’ll come out of the other side of this slump and live up to Sir Alex’s description of him as ‘the future of MUFC’.

Alan | RedForceRising: The reaction to Jonny Eavns’ poor run of form has been very strong, but nothing that has surprised me. Football fans, myself included, tend to be very fickle-minded and have selective memories. Fans are way too quick to promote players to that status of “demi God” and even quicker to reduce the same players to the levels of “useless” and “should be sold in January”. At the same time, I believe that it’s fair to give credit where credit is due and to criticize where’s it’s correct too, BUT as supporters, we should be fully behind the player to turn things around. So yes, Jonny Evans has been poor, dire and maybe even shit, recently, but he has been very good in the past two season and he has the makings of a top class defender. It’s been quite baffling to see Jonny Evans so poor in winning his defensive duels. He’s not showing enough desire, quickness of thought or physical strength to win those little battles you have to win in the box and they have resulted in goals being conceded. However, he has been very good in the past and has been good in high-profile, high-pressure matches, so he just needs to sort himself out and the fans should be helping him do so, not asking for him to be sold.

TG | ManUtd24: I’m convinced Jonny Evans will go a long way in his career. I think it almost pathetic that fans can go out of the way and say some discouraging things about their own players. But, hey, these things happen. I wrote about Evans for the blog this week and the response was positive – on the site and especially on Twitter. Evans’ problem lies in the fact that he simply lacks confidences. Furthermore, he needs to improve his game. Aerially, he isn’t the best and is quite hesitant, not too mention that he isn’t too fond of getting ‘physical’, well from what I’ve seen anyway. But he’ll develop and improve. I have no doubt about that.

Siddarth | Bangalore to Old Trafford: Jonny has gone from Hero to zero in a matter of months, rather unfortunate, but that’s how bad his form is right now. He’s been struggling to cope with Physical opponents and is getting pushed around like a ragdoll, something that shouldn’t happen with a CB.

Having said that, it’s incredible that people are actually considering the notion that he must be sold, have they forgotten how good he was last season! Supporting him is what we should be doing, and I’m sure Jonny will comeback from this stringer than ever, and the same people will be hailing him as an excellent player!

Doron | Stretford-End: The reaction to Jonny Evans’ bad form has been ridiculous. The guy is 22 years old, has had a superb start to his career as a footballer and now is suffering his first (potentially worryingly long) dip in form. Yes, there is only so long a dip in form can be tolerated but common sense must prevail.

Centre backs not only take longer to mature and learn the position but they have different challenges from other players. Their concentration has to be much sharper and just one poor performance can really knock confidence in a much bigger way than other positions. Just because Jonny has so far done well in the first team, it doesn’t make him immune to poor form. We as the fans should be backing him and hoping he can pick himself up – rather than jumping on the media bandwagon. The abuse Jonny got from some fans was totally out of order and embarrassing.

The mark of a good player is how he picks himself up from a dip in form and confidence. The response to this challenge will say much about the future of Jonny…

Kyle | Stretford-End: There is no hiding that Jonny Evans has suffered an massive dip in form this season. This is not the same centre back who performed so admirably against the likes of Drogba in seasons past. Sadly, many fans have forgotten the performances Evans had the past two seasons and are now calling for him to be sold. His form is clearly suffering right now, but all of us have seen the talent that he has. It’s hard to remember that he is still young. At the age of 22, he has a long career ahead of him. There is no doubt that Evans played a big role in our elimination in the Carling Cup at the hands of West Ham. Fans must be more patient though. It’s sad to see so many calling for Evans be sold when we’ve seen in the past he has the ability to be a fantastic defender. Evans has struggled this season and very well may be the reason for a few unnecessary goals, but if we just stay patient he’ll rediscover his form and show us why he has a future at Old Trafford.

Chudi | The Busby Way: Jonny Evans is undoubtedly going through a rough patch but there has been a massive over reaction. He is young, couple months older than me so he has years to go and at his age consistence is a problem for many pros but some of the stuff I’ve seen said is crazy. Had a guy on my site say ‘he should go and die somewhere’, I wanted to nut the guy (through the computer screen keyboard warrior style of course!)

The problem is that he needs games to get his confidence and performances back up to scratch but do we risk this in the first team? He has accepted that he has been playing poorly so maybe a spell in the reserves could help?

Yolkie | Stretford-End: First thing’s first; Jonny is a top class defender who will go on to have a great career, of that I’m convinced. You don’t lose natural ability and he has it in abundance, however it’s been clear – painfully so – that his form is very much dependent on self confidence. In 08/09 he was part of a team that was piling clean sheets up and he took that confidence into bossing Drogba in our 3-0 win. After the criticism for his performance at Everton last season – a little unfair for one bad game, I thought – he seems to have let that get to him and brought it into this season.

It’s not helped by Smalling’s instant settling; maybe Evans would benefit from a loan spell in the second half of the season to help him re-discover his touch. I still think he has a bright future at Old Trafford because it’s not like Sir Alex doesn’t display incredible patience with players.

No one can really explain why he’s going through such a poor patch but we all want to see him pull through and come out of it. He is a talented defender, yet I think we’re all cautiously aware that this is a bit concerning.

Click here for part 3 of today’s Red Report