Veteran Manchester United centre-back Jonny Evans has sung the praises of three young teammates who have ‘outstanding attitudes’.
The former Leicester City defender would end up signing for the club on a free transfer, however, as Erik ten Hag looked to bring in another defender to his four-man centre-back unit.
And Evans was certainly needed. The 36-year-old has made 15 appearances for Ten Hag’s side so far this season, with 12 of those coming in the Premier League.
Despite the team’s drop-off this term, Evans has been one of the few consistent performers at the club. He should not be a first-choice option but is doing his best in the circumstances.
However, Evans has brought some much-needed leadership to the squad in terms of helping academy players. He is the oldest academy graduate in the squad and is happy to provide that unique experience to aid the youngsters.
“It’s been really nice to sort of be that academy player but obviously, in a strange way, at a senior level,” he told club reporters. “I suppose I can always relate back to when I was coming into the first team as a young lad.
“We had players like Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, [Ryan] Giggs. Academy players. The history of the club and academy players, and it’s a big belief at this club to give young players a chance, and I don’t think that will ever change.”
Evans has watched three academy talents progress into the first-team squad this season in the form of Willy Kambwala, Kobbie Mainoo and Dan Gore. The trio were part of an eight-man academy group – alongside Evans, Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay, Alejandro Garnacho and Hannibal Mejbri – to play in the 3-2 win against Aston Villa last month.
Those three players have impressed Evans, particularly in relation to their work ethic on the training ground at Carrington and when they’ve appeared for the first team.
“I have been so impressed, and I think their attitudes, first and foremost, have been outstanding,” explains Evans.
“I think having a good attitude as a young kid always allows you to progress and you get to a certain period in your career. The three of them have got it.
“Every time they come into training, they show great character and application. I think that’s the reason why they have been given that. The manager has been able to look at that and see that he can trust them.”
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