United legend calls for Jonny Evans to fight for spot

Legendary Manchester United defender Jimmy Nicholl has called for young defender Jonny Evans to reclaim his spot in the first eleven for the club under new manager David Moyes.

The Northern Ireland international was in brilliant form last season but injury as well as a managerial change which saw Sir Alex Ferguson step down after 27 years at the club for Moyes to take over has seen him start just a handful of matches for the club this season.

Nicholl, however, has backed the young defender, who has been a revelation this season for his national team to come out on top against the likes of veteran defenders such as Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic and nail down a regular spot in the first team. Nicholl is himself a former international for the Northern Ireland he has advised his countryman to keep working his socks off in training sessions as well keep his hopes and confidence at an optimum level so that he can perform whenever he is called into action.

Speaking to the club’s official website about Jonny Evans, Nicholl stated that at a club like Manchester United, one always has to fight to get into the first team. He mentioned that having become established last season, Jonny will have to do that all over again but he is sure that the 24 year old is up for the challenge that lies ahead of him.

Nicholl further mentioned that he was brilliant last season and has been playing well for his country as well and his absence is sorely felt when he is out with injury. Jonny Evans will be hopeful of getting his place back at United and Nicholl believes the player has all the abilities and attributes it is needed to succeed at a club like Manchester United.

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Jonny Evans confident ahead of tough start

Manchester United defender Jonny Evans has stated that the players will call on their vast experience to navigate a difficult opening round of fixtures at the beginning of the new season of the Premier League.
David Moyes has been handed a very difficult start as he begins life as the new Manchester United manager with an opening fixture in Wales against Swansea City before they travel back home to face Jose Mourinho and Chelsea and after that, the club gets ready to take on eternal rivals Liverpool away.

The club will be relieved to face Premier League new boys Crystal Palace before taking on Manuel Pellegrini and his Manchester City side in a derby. But the Northern Ireland international Jonny Evans is adamant that United have always managed to overcome the tricky round of fixtures with ease in the recent past and he is confident the Red Devils will once again manage that as they have done in the past under Sir Alex Ferguson.

According to Evans, whenever the club has had a tricky round of fixtures, they have managed to hold on to their composure and come out of it unscathed and with all the points which had kept them in strong positions and he remains confident the players will draw on that experience and help the new manager get through his initiation easily.

He mentioned that at a club like Manchester United, it is mandatory to win every game that comes their way, no matter who the opponent might be and that is something that will never change. Moreover, Jonny Evans also mentioned that there is always the chance that things will not go according to plan but even if they do go wrong, it will still be the beginning of the season and there will be a lot of time to pull though.

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WRIGHT RESIGNS FROM NI

Tommy Wright has resigned from his post of the goalkeeping coach of the Northern Ireland national football team after being appointed as the manager of St Johnstone.

Wright had been working both as Northern Ireland’s goalkeeping coach and St Johnstone’s assistant manager since the last couple of years. But, a few days back, he was promoted to the post of manager at St Johnstone.

After that, Wright felt that he couldn’t continue working both for the club and the national team.

Announcing his resignation in a press conference, Wright said, “I have reached the decision that I should leave the post of Northern Ireland’s goalkeeping coach. I am now the manager of St Johnstone FC and I need to be totally committed to the club.”

“I have not taken this decision in a hurry. I gave it a deep thought. I also talked to Michael O’ Neill and the chairman of IFA.”

“I want to thank the owners of St Johnstone for allowing me to work both for the club and the country in the last one and half years.”

“I also want to thank Michael O’ Neill for giving me the chance to work under him. I give my best wishes to the Northern Ireland squad for their remaining World Cup qualifying matches.”

Northern Ireland’s performance in the world Cup qualifying matches has been pretty poor so far. They have played 5 games and haven’t won even one. They have lost 3 games, while, the remaining 2 have ended in the form of draws.

Northern Ireland has to play 5 more games. So, they still have the chance to improve their position in Group F points table. Currently, they are at no. 5 in the points table with 3 points.

Northern Ireland’s next world cup qualifying match is against Russia. That match will be played on 14th of August at Windsor Park, Belfast.

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NO LET UP

Manchester United have built a comprehensive 12 point lead at the top of the table courtesy of an impressive season, but the defender Jonny Evans has warned his teammates that they have not won anything yet. He has said that the United players should certainly remember the way they threw away an eight-point advantage last season only to lose the title on the last day.

As a result, United missed out on the possibility of winning the record 20th Premier league title. Manchester United once again showed signs of complacency as they were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid.

They came extremely close to exiting the FA Cup at the quarter-final round after allowing Chelsea to come back from two goals down at Old Trafford. Evans, though, is confident that his teammates will be able to look at last season and learn from the mistakes. Even though United have a 12 point advantage in the league, they still have to play against top teams including the Manchester Derby. As a result, the Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has not been writing off the chances of his team winning the title for second consecutive season. In the absence of Nemanja Vidic and Phil Jones, Evans has been the first team regular for United this season.

"We all saw what happened last year. It’s up to us to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We keep saying it but hopefully we’ve learned from that experience. We’re in a great position in the league but we don’t want to give City any sniff of getting back in. We didn’t imagine being 12 points clear at this stage. It sounds like a lot but it’s only a difference of four games. It’s important to take all three points with the international break coming up," said Evans ahead of the Reading match.

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UNITED WE STAND

Jonny Evans has said that he wants to continue playing for Manchester United for the remaining part of his career.

Evans’ contract has recently been extended by the United management for the next four years.

Evans had joined Manchester United in 2004. His age was only 16 years at that time. He featured for the youth team of United for a couple of years. He played his first match for the senior team of United in September 2007 against Coventry City.

Evans has featured for Manchester United in 92 matches so far. He has now become the first choice centre back for Sir Alex Ferguson. He has been in fine form in the ongoing season and has put up quite a few match winning performances.

When asked about the extension of his contract, Evans said, “I am delighted about it. I don’t want to leave Manchester United ever in my career. Playing for Manchester United was my goal during my childhood days. I achieved that goal and now, I want to be a part of Manchester United till the end of my career.”

In one of his recent interviews, Sir Alex Ferguson had hailed Evans and had said that Evans has improved a lot in the last two years. Ferguson had also said that Evans might be the future Manchester United captain. When asked about that, Evans said, “It’s good that the manager rates me so highly. But, leading the team is not something that I am looking forward to at the moment. We have got a great leader in the form of Nemanja Vidic and in his absence; Patrice Evra is also leading the team well. I am pretty happy playing under the captaincy of senior players at this point of time.”

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FOCUS ON GOALS

The Manchester United defender Johnny Evans has said that it is about time Manchester United started focusing on improving their goal difference in order to maintain their advantage at the top of the table.

United are currently lead the Premier league table, but the lead is just one point over their arch rivals Manchester City. As a result, there is a feeling that goal difference might once again play a crucial role in the title race. The Premier league last season was decided on the basis of goal difference for the first time, as Manchester City managed to win it.

Jonny Evans has said that it is time United focused on this aspect. United managed a 1-0 victory over West Ham in the midweek action, while City managed a 2-0 win over Wigan. After the match, the United manager Sir Alex Ferguson stressed the importance of having 1-0 victories in the context of the title race. However, the defender Jonny Evans believes that United must strengthen their goal difference in order to have an advantage over other teams. United have conceded a lot of goals this season, which have taken the edge out of this aspect even though they might have scored a lot of goals as well.

"We didn’t play well. Our game was a bit slow and laboured. Fortunately, we got the goal early doors but we didn’t really kick on from that. It was a bit nervy towards the end in some instances but we managed to keep a clean sheet which we are happy about. I was thinking at the time when our goal went in that this was great. I felt we could really score some goals here after that," said Evans, who is getting a lot of first-team action in the absence of Nemanja Vidic.

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EVANS EXCITED TO PLAY

The Manchester United defender, Jonny Evans, has said that he is excited to play against Liverpool at Anfield.
The Reds will play against Sir Alex Ferguson’s team on 23rd of September. That would be an interesting match as there has been an arch rivalry going on between both these clubs since many years.

When asked about that match, Evans had this to say: “Anfield is a great stadium and whenever we play over there, we enjoy ourselves quite a lot just because of the electrifying atmosphere over there. We haven’t performed too well in the away matches against Liverpool in the last two seasons, but, we are determined to make a mark this time around. It is going to be a huge pressure game; there is no doubt about that. But, the players need to rise to the occasion and hold their nerves during the key moments of the game.”

The Manchester United team has been in amazing form in the ongoing season so far. The team has won four matches in a row including the Champions League victory against Galatasaray. United’s start to the season was not a good one as the team was defeated by Everton in the opening match, but, after that, the United boys haven’t done anything wrong in the following four matches.

On being asked about the current form of the team, Evans said, “it has obviously been a very good season for us till date. But, it’s important to carry on the momentum. Our upcoming matches are against some very good teams and we need to play high class football in those matches. The main target of the team is to regain the Premier League title and the team is well on course. The kind of team we have, if we play up to our potential, we have a very good chance of winning the Premier League again.”

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OP RULES JONNY OUT

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that the Central defender Jonny Evans is likely to miss the start of the new season after he has not sufficiently recovered from an injury.

The defender was a casualty in the 4-4 draw with Everton last season. He broke his foot and was not expected to return prior to the start of this new season. However, the manager Sir Alex Ferguson has said that it may take much longer than initially anticipated after the defender has not made a great deal of progress in his efforts to return to first-team action.

Manchester United, though, are likely to welcome Nemanja Vidic back from long-term injuries. There was initially fears that the illustrious career of the 31-year-old could be cut short as a result of this major injury. However, Ferguson has revealed that he is making substantial progress to be fit in time for the start of the new season. Manchester United will be making a difficult away trip to Everton on the opening day of the season. It has been a fixture that has been not rewarding in terms of points for Manchester United in the last few seasons, but Everton have been traditionally poor starters.

"Jonny had the op, but I'm not sure that he'll be ready to start the season. Fortunately, though, I don't think he'll be far away. I'm confident that Nemanja Vidic will start the season, I'm sure of that. He's a bit behind the rest of the players in terms of the competitive element of his condition, so he's far better back at Carrington to work on that. Chris Smalling has done a bit of training. He had a ruptured groin and has had a lot of attention in that area," said Ferguson ahead of the first pre-season match.

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EVANS RULED OUT

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that defender Jonny Evans will not be part of the Manchester United squad for the match against Swansea on Sunday.

This is a key match for Manchester United knowing that they must win in order to stay in touch with Manchester City at the top of the table, and possibly overtake their arch rivals if they slip up against Newcastle earlier in the day. However, they will have to be without Jonny Evans for the match against Swansea. Sir Alex Ferguson will also be hoping to score a lot of goals against Swansea, which might also help Manchester United's attempts to overtake City at the top of the table.

Ferguson revealed during the week that United should not have been in such a position given their lead over City only a month ago. United had an eight point advantage over City after their arch rivals lost at the hands of Arsenal. However, since then United have been beaten by Wigan and Manchester City, while they have also surrendered a two-goal advantage at the hands of Everton at home. It has meant that City will go into the two remaining Premier league games against Newcastle and QPR knowing that they can win the title if they better Manchester United's results.

"He has improved a little bit but (will) not (be fit) for Sunday. He is out. He got injured on Monday. Hopefully he will be ready for the Sunderland game. We have to get over the disappointment of Monday. It was a blow to us. It has put us on the back foot. We can only do what we can do," said Sir Alex Ferguson regarding the fitness of both Jonny Evans and Danny Welbeck. Danny Welbeck was injured after a challenge from Nigel de Jong in the Manchester derby.

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EVANS BACKS YOUNGSTERS

Jonny Evans has said that Manchester United's young players need to focus a lot more and improve on various positions in order to be more competitive in the future.

This statement comes after the 2-1 loss at the hands of Crystal Palace in the Carling cup quarter-finals. Apart from bringing an end to the cup run, the defeat also raises questions about the quality of the young players present at Manchester United. Even though the likes of Tom Cleverley and Darron Gibson have traversed from the youth ranks only recently, there has been a lack of players from youth team who are on the same level of David Beckham and Gary Neville.

Paul Scholes is another player who is well known amongst the Old Trafford faithful for having come through the ranks, but it is quite sad to see Manchester United not producing the likes of Paul Scholes and Gary Neville nowadays. Jonny Evans was quick to point out this fact, but said that they still had a lot of quality and they can become a great player in the future. Manchester United lost to Crystal Palace with a side that contained the likes of Ravel Morrison, Ben Amos, Paul Pogba, and Ezekiel Fryers.

'It’s good that the manager plays the younger lads, but unfortunately we’ve not managed to get the result. My first game was in the Carling Cup and it didn’t turn out as well as we expected, but the lads have got to keep focused and work hard on their games,' Jonny Evans said after the game. Jonny Evans made his debut in 2007 against Coventry, but has gone on to become one of the established players at Manchester United. He is the first choice replacement for either Rio Ferdinand or Nemanja Vidic in case of an injury.

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