After the signing of Phil Jones, a lot of people thought that Jonny Evans would automatically be pushed down the centre-back pecking order, and that his time at Old Trafford was nearing its end, I always hoped that this would not be the case.
Evans was written off last season.
He struggled to recapture his form from previous seasons after a bad start, and never really recovered. A lot of ‘experts’ seemed to have forgotten his form from three years ago when Evans fitted in to United’s defence like a glove in the absence of Vidic and then Ferdinand. He was only 20 but relished testing himself against the likes of Drogba and Torres at their peak. He was confident on the ball as well and could cover at left back.
When Sir Alex signed Jones, the thought of selling Jonny Evans couldn’t have been further from his mind. He instead let Wes Brown and John O’Shea go to Sunderland and had Chris Smalling in mind as right-back cover.
It was said that the interest of other teams forced our hand in signing Jones at the beginning of summer but I’m sure the gaffer knew what he was doing. We’ve had a lot of defensive injuries in the past few seasons and low and behold, Rio and Vidic went go off injured in our first game.
As good as Jones has looked over the summer, I think Evans deserves a chance just as much.
After so much was made about the mistakes he was making time out of the spotlight was what he needed to get his head straight and with Smalling shining and the signing of th much heralded Jones it appears he is beginning to get it together.
He started to recapture some form towards the end of last season but the red card against Bolton at Old Trafford halted his progress. He looked good when used in the tour of America and this season he looks focused and has played well in his two substitute appearances, first in the community shield and then against West Brom.
Showing confidence in him now will hopefully help him get back to his best and I think picking Jones ahead of him would damage his confidence further.
Jones will get his chance, we all know that, but right now it’s time for Jonny Evans to prove all the doubters wrong and show he can be a Man United centre back in the long term.