Jonny Evans is a lifelong Manchester United fan and as a kid was fairly fanatical about the club, with his bedroom kitted out in United stuff.

“My first recollections of Manchester United would be going way back, probably in my granny’s house having these little figures of United players,” he told the official site. “Even before that, I got a United poster for Christmas when I was five years old. My bedroom was all done out in Manchester United stuff: bed covers, posters… so it goes back to when I was just a kid.”

Evans was first spotted by United when he was 9-years-old but it was a long process from there to actually joining the club.

“When I was nine years old, a scout had come over to watch me play in Northern Ireland and asked me if I wanted to join the Manchester United centre of excellence. So, for me, that was a massive thing,” he said. “Even though I was only nine and I was getting really excited. He was telling me that there’s still so much to go. Then, when I was maybe 10, I made my first trip to Manchester. I travelled over on every school holiday and it was great at the time. I moved across with my family when I was 15 and I think that was the start of it, when I moved to England. It’s been 11 years now, it’s been a long experience but it feels like yesterday.”

When asked, in summary, what the club meant to him, Evans struggled to find the words to explain.

“It’s hard to put into words exactly what Manchester United means to me,” he added. “From a young age, I was fanatical about United and I used to cry when the team lost. That’s how much it meant as a kid. Now I feel really privileged to pull on the shirt and go out there and try to make a difference and represent the fans on the pitch.”