Jonny Evans has made an impressive return to Manchester United since penning a one-year deal at Old Trafford and played a key role in Saturday night’s win over Burnley.
The Northern Ireland international provided the assist for Bruno Fernandes’ decisive goal as his perfectly-weighted diagonal ball from deep was met with a superb finish from the United captain to end a three-game losing streak as United claimed a 1-0 win.
Evans returned to the club to keep up his fitness during the summer after leaving relegated Leicester City as a free agent. A short-term contract was signed as he took part in pre-season before he agreed a one-year deal to return to the club he represented from 2006 to 2015 after coming through the academy at United.
Injuries in the centre of Erik ten Hag’s defence mean he has been thrust into action and he was a calm figure at the back at Turf Moor as United earned their first clean sheet since their win over Wolves in mid-August. He won three aerial duels while 90 per cent of his passes found a teammate.
Evans left United for West Brom in August 2015, joining the Baggies for an undisclosed fee during Louis Van Gaal’s time in charge at Old Trafford.
The move raised a few eyebrows at the time, none more so than those of United legend Sir Alex Ferguson. In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph in 2017, Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill revealed Ferguson ‘couldn’t believe’ Evans had been sold.
O’Neill revealed: “In September after last year’s Euros, there was a conference in France for the coaches. Sir Alex was there talking about it and he openly said to me that he could not believe Van Gaal had sold Jonny Evans.
“Because having seen him coming through, he felt Jonny would spend his whole career at United or certainly to the latter stages of his career.
“In the previous two years he had an injury, and at Man Utd they had Ferdinand and Vidic and then Jonny. There was a succession plan that didn’t happen because of the change in manager.”
Given his relationship with Evans, Ferguson will surely have been pleased to see the veteran defender deliver a strong performance at Burnley as United look to get their season back on track.