Roy Keane certainly made a positive impression on our young defender, Jonny Evans, who has had two periods at Sunderland on loan, with him claiming that he was eager to return this season.
Evans, along with Danny Simpson, joined Keano for the second half of the 2006-2007 season, helping the North-East side return to the Premiership. He won the club’s ‘Young Player of the Year’ award, which sparked Sunderland’s interest for the following season.
However, Sir Alex Ferguson insisted we would be needing him, so prevented a repeat loan deal. Half a season went by, Evans got a couple of Champions League appearances, but was back on loan to Sunderland.
“I’m not in control at all of what happens now,” he said on his return to Manchester at the end of the season. “I will just go back to Man United and keep my head down. I’ve got used to that last season. I wasn’t involved much in the first half of the season there and I just tried to do the best I could. You are not really in control of anything that goes on when you are under contract. If any club wants to bid for me, it is up to them and Man United to decide what happens. I don’t know what is going to happen and I won’t be knocking on Sir Alex Ferguson’s door asking questions because he is in charge and I’m sure he’ll let me know what’s happening.”
It seems as though Evans isn’t really that arsed where he is, as long as he gets to play football. That’s admirable in a lot of ways, particularly in light of what Keane has said recently, however unlike most of our youth players, his sole aim doesn’t seem to be winning a first team place at United.
“When Roy Keane says he wants you, it’s a massive compliment,” Evans told the local rags during the season. “If he wanted to make this move permanent, it’s something I would want to talk about. Playing in the Premier League in games that matter is what it’s all about, and what I want to be doing for a few years to come. But nothing has been said at all by Sunderland or Manchester United about anything beyond this season. I am really enjoying playing a full part in Sunderland’s season. Sometimes it seems a bit unreal that I am back at Sunderland. It didn’t look like it was going to happen when the gaffer (Keane) asked the question early in the season and United wanted me there. But it’s great to be playing and testing myself in Premier League games, and it’s something I want a lot more of. United is the club I support and to have the chance to make it there is still a great opportunity that no player surrenders easily. But if I was ever going to leave Manchester United, Sunderland would definitely be an option for me – if they want me.”
Following Ferguson’s decision to keep him at Old Trafford again, Evans has reiterated his desire to go back to Sunderland, sounding as though he’s already planning his exit.
“I had a taste of Premier League football with Sunderland last season and it made me want more,” said Evans. “I wanted to join Sunderland this summer, but Sir Alex Ferguson made it clear that he needs me for cover at the back and has said that I will get games. I think that if it gets to the stage where I am not getting enough games, then he [Ferguson] would allow me to leave in order for my career to progress. I will continue to work hard at United and who knows what may happen in the future.”
Does Evans have a future at United?