Former Manchester United defender Jonny Evans has revealed that he still thinks of Roy Keane and the influence he has had on his career ahead of the crunch clash between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in Dublin.

Both teams came up against each other at the Aviva Stadium just last week in a friendly battle with the 30 year old’s football hero sitting on the Ireland’s bench as manager Martin O’Neill’s assistant.

The Leicester defender grew up idolizing the former Manchester United defender and skipper, who left Old Trafford shortly before he emerged from the ranks, but later handed him two hugely instructive loan spells during his time as Sunderland manager.

Speaking on the impact Roy Keane has had on his career, he said, “Massive. He was the player I looked up to most when I was growing up as a United fan. He was the United captain and then I went on to play for him at Sunderland in two loan spells”.

“He was a big inspiration for me and I still think of him a lot when I am on the pitch. I think, ‘Well, if Roy Keane was in this situation and things were tough, then he would roll his sleeves up and continue fighting”.

Jonny Evans made 19 appearances for the Black Cats during the second half of the 2006/2007, helping them win promotion back to the Premier League as champions. He then played another 16 games in the English top flight as Sunderland clinched survival at the end of the following campaign after a temporary move in January.

The Leicester defender, Jonny Evans won his 75th cap in Dublin when Northern Ireland came up against the Republic of Ireland and is regarded as one of the greatest defenders to have ever turned out for his country.