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Evra: I Did What I Had To For Heinze’s Place

It’s hard to think back to the time when Gabriel Heinze was a greatly loved member of our squad. He was a ferocious player who never shied away from tackles and loved to get stuck in. “ARGENTINA!” was the chant that would go around Old Trafford every time he put the ball, and the man, in to the stands.

When Heinze watched Patrice Evra’s debut for United against City, he probably assumed he’d have nothing to worry about when he returned from injury. Evra was out of his depth defensively and wasn’t good enough going forward.

Things have changed dramatically since then. Patrice Evra has shown himself to be one of the best full backs in the World, whilst “Heinze” is like a swear word now for United fans.

Evra has given a press conference ahead of France’s World Cup qualifier, speaking about Manchester United and his home nation.

“When I arrived at Manchester United, they said [Gabriel] Heinze was the best, and I did what I had to do…” he said, and he’s right. Heinze’s motivation for leaving United was he knew he simply wasn’t good enough to dislodge Evra from the starting XI. The Frenchman went from strength to strength, proving himself to be a more agile defender and more efficient going forward.

However, it seems Evra has more in common with Heinze than we’d like to think, with the full back confessing he gives far more to his country than he does to his club.

When asked how he felt about the competition for places in the squad, since becoming France’s first choice left back, Evra was proud. However, he then went on to say he gave three times as much to his country than he does to Manchester United.

“I accept it as long as it’s a fair-play competition,” he added. “Eric Abidal and Gael Clichy being behind me is a good thing. If you give 100% of yourself when you play with your club, you have to give 300% with France. Here, it’s L’Equipe de France, we’re not here for fun, it’s the supreme shirt. I was congratulated during the Euros, but against Sweden [France won the friendly 3-2 away last August], people started to say: ‘he isn’t playing the same flamboyant football as in Manchester,’ so there’s no time for relaxation. But you have to accept the rules, to show your qualities every time you are called for one or 90 minutes.”

Hmmm. What do you make of this then?

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Mic says:

    Bah! It’s not what I want to hear, as a football fan and a footballer, I only ever expect 100% from the players I play along and the team that I watch, I prefer commitment to club over country with United but obviously it’s not going to be the same for everyone. I’d still prefer him to be at his best for club and country rather than (only) giving 100% to United and not 300%!

  2. OP says:

    Storm in a tea cup. He is saying that to the French press, and it is exactly what they would want to hear, remember the french aren’t that fond of England in general. Having seen him play for France I am pretty glad that he gives us 100% and them 300% as he seems to play a lot better for us.

  3. peacesofpeace says:

    Mic…I think its all about the fact that he’s just gotten his chance to be the favourite for left back for France…after all why would he say that.

    He needs to show Domenech that he deserves to be first choice ahead of Abidal and Clichy, i guess thats why he’s got to do everything possible.

    Maybe that one reason why SAF ought to bring up a left back as understudy to Evra, that way he’s know there’l be competition and give in as much as he wants to give for France.

  4. Christovski says:

    To be honest, I’m not really bothered about what he says or does for his country. As long as he plays well for United, then he’ll always be in my good books.

  5. BESHER says:

    i dont care if he gives 1000% for his country want him just come back without injuries

  6. n667 says:

    ma god this was nly 100%!, jus imagine if the lad manages 2 up it a bit for the club!!:)

  7. RedDevil says:

    I dont think he means it. Imagine- he has just become the french first choice full-back after fighting to get that spot from Abidal in some time. He gets it and he is interviewed. The interviewer asks: “How much do you giver when you play for France?” Pat cant say: “The same as I give at United, 100%.” No, he has to say that he gives more for his country than his team. That is just the French culture. Its just how it is… Still, PAT RULES!

  8. adrian says:

    Looks like he is taking the leftback spot for granted, now that Silvestre’s gone.

  9. Tom F says:

    Just because we hate England, I don’t think we should worry too much when a player admits he gives his best to his country.

    Sounds like a man who is confident yet maybe a little comfortable with his position at United. Need to get Da Silva on the bench challenging for his place to make him work harder.

    I remember Roy Keane’s disgust when mentioning in his book that after winning the treble somebody said “I don’t care if I never win anything again”… as long as success doesn’t stop our players becoming competitive and they still have the passion and the fire, they can say what they want about their countries!

  10. ManU says:

    He forgot who his pay mater is and the club that develope him and eventually choosen to represent his country. Use your brain Evera the next time you open your mouth to the press.

  11. umarutd says:

    naughty boy patty…we expect 300%..infact 500% when you don the red shirt of manchester united. Dont be making those comments silly pat :-)

  12. twinnyd says:

    listen hombres…pat just said it bcuz he was speaking to the french press.if you never knew,he is not highly rated by Domenech and France.and so he has to fight much harder to convince him just to be in the squad.i dont think its a disrespect to United but he is just showing how committed he is to “les bleus” world cup campaign.i do agree tho that he needs an understudy at LB.but fergie doesnt need to look far.he’s got fabio,who will be the next best LB for brazil and even the world. :P

  13. suhayl says:

    twinnyD..the guys who had a rip at patty…said it very much tongue in cheek…every fan knows he gives it his all for us..just slight banter lad

  14. S. Ahmed says:

    So, after waiting for ages you get to finally be picked as a 1st choice player in YOuR preferred position.

    What else is he gonna say – its not like scholes’s situation.

    We’ll see what happens when contrat renewal comes around if hes STILL performing.

    Proabaly in the top 3 left backs in the whole world at the mo.

    Always be a legend fo this: (yes been seen too many times but just SUMS THIS GUY up for me anyway:

  15. Jas Rai says:

    United > France

  16. Prince posi says:

    I can say 4 some1 2 come at least 4 d 1st term dat mean dat person planin 4 imself.patric evra has 2 fight much harder 2 convince him just 2 be in d squard and 2 be 1 of d best in machester,d guy who had a rip at patty…hmmmm!every fans no’s dat he give it’s strength 2 d best.look,i can say evra is d best 3 in d world,becus it is a hard workin guy & it’s worth d best 3 in d world,infact he’s d best 3 in world 4 now & its remain.up man u 2 all my fans mate.tak care.

  17. Prince posi says:

    Evra has fight much harder 2 convince him just 2 be in d squad and 2 be 1 of d best.d guy who had a rip at patty,hmmmm! Every fans no dat he is a gud player.i can say evra is d best 3 in d world,bcus he deserve it.up man u,greeting 2 all man u fans.

  18. Stephen Colbert says:

    This is just an example of things people say that’s not true. You can tell that Evra always gives his all when playing. The guy is tough as nails.

  19. Bob Koh says:

    100% is everything so there’s no such thing as ’300%’. Evra is aying the competition in Le Bleu is much keener than for the team ManUtd.
    I’ll accept it when Evra comes back and attack L’pool at Anfield on 13 Sep, sending in a cross for Berba to knock in his first for us.

  20. dat says:

    He said “If you give 100% of yourself when you play with your club, you have to give 300% with France.”( note the IF)

    That’s why people commented “he isn’t playing the same flamboyant football as in Manchester”
    Maybe he’s not really giving 300% for France.. Patrice is still great anyway

  21. PeeJay says:


  22. Jimmybob says:

    hell come out with the anelka classic ” i was misquoted” in fall fairness he seems to give 100% every game and is arguably the best left back in europe.

    Unlike that horrible fucker heinze who is getting worse each season and who fucked us over in his attempt to join the dippers

  23. DarkDevil says:

    People, People. Patrice Evra gives his all whenever he plays for us. He may encounter a few “bad” days but for the most part he gives all he’s got. The playing style of United is much more attacking than with France and so with United, Evra has a lot more freedom of expression because he’s a naturally attack minded left back. With France however, he has to confine his potential and he has to play a different system to United’s. That’s why he has to try harder. He’s not used to playing that system. With United it’s fluent whereas with France it’s more forced.

    Besides that, he could just be saying that to get into the “good books” of the French manager because no one wants to sit on the bench for their country.

  24. franky says:

    Even if he only gave 80% he’d still be the best left back by miles in the Prem.


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