Sir Alex Ferguson has hailed Jonny Evans, touting he Northern Ireland international to go on and become a regular at centerback for years to come.
Evans has had to contend with the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic for a starting place in the United team, but as the two have got on in age and injuries have take their toll he has seen his playing time increase.
Playing alongside and learning from the likes of Ferdinand and Vidic has lead to the 25 year old become a key component in United’s defence, something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by fans or Sir Alex as he told Inside United:
‘Jonny’s been really brilliant this season.
‘He’s 25 years old now and, hopefully for the next six or seven years, he could be a regular centre-back for us.
‘Obviously, Rio [Ferdinand] is 34 now and [Nemanja] Vidic is 31. [Patrice] Evra is 31 so, in that sense, players like Smalling, Jones and Evans will come to the fore.’
Sir Alex also had special words for ‘footballing animal’ Phil Jones who he claims can play anywhere – even upfront!
‘Jones is going to be a fantastic player, his talent is unbelievable. Yes [his best position is centre-back] but you could play him anywhere. I think you could play him centre-forward! He’s just that type of player.
‘He’s an animal for football. He grasps the game, he understands it. Play him right-back? Brilliant. Play him centre-midfield? No problem. Play him centre-back? Terrific.
‘He’s just one of those unusual players you get now and again who can play anywhere. We’ve not had a player like him in terms of someone who can play at that performance level since, well the closest you would get would be Brian McClair.
‘Now, Brian McClair was a fantastic player. He could play anywhere, McClair. I remember kidding him on once; I said to him, just go and play in the right-back area and he laughed. I said to him, ‘What are you laughing at?’ and he said, ‘Next week I’ll be centre-half.’ But that was his character, so composed about life. Nothing bothered him.’