Erik ten Hag praises Jonny Evans, says he always stands up to be counted when needed – Man United News And Transfer News

Erik ten Hag praises Jonny Evans, says he always stands up to be counted when needed – Man United News And Transfer News

Manchester United were far from good but ended up picking up a 2-0 win against Everton on Saturday to return to winning ways in the Premier League.

The team were clinical when it mattered but really struggled to keep hold of the ball against a poor Everton side who have not won a game in 2024.

The Toffees actually had more shots than the hosts and while Raphael Varane struggled, his centre-back partner Jonny Evans excelled against the team from Merseyside.

Signed as the fifth centre-back not many fans would have been enthused by the free signing of their former hero but it has turned out to be a masterstroke.

Evans masterclass

With all the four centre-backs ahead of him in the pecking order all suffering long-term injuries at various points of the season, the Northern Irishman has ended up starting 14 games in all competitions this season.

He has put in a few match-winning displays despite being 36, and it is no wonder to hear that manager Erik ten Hag wants to keep hold of him for another season.

And the manager was full of praise for the former Champions League winner after the Everton game, and praised his mentality as well. The manager had claimed that the defender played through injury in the Manchester derby.

“Oh yeah, I have been very impressed,” Ten Hag said in his post-match press conference.

“We are so pleased we signed the fifth centre-back because normally, you say: ‘Why five centre-backs in the squad?’ But you see, we are so happy we did this.

“As you see, his performance across the season, he’s such an important player for this squad. He will always be there when he’s needed and give good performances.”

Shrewd signing

His versatility has also been on show with the three-time Premier League winner playing games as the left-sided centre-back as well as on the right side.

He is much more adept on the left and it was strange to see Evans start on the right while Varane, whose passing is not as crisp with his left foot, starting in Lisandro Martinez’s place.

“It’s tactical, today we swapped it from the start. Sometimes they swap in the game, today was more Raphael on the left, Jonny on the right. We can swap from game to game, it depends on many areas why we do this.”

While the result will have vindicated the Dutchman’s approach, playing Varane on the left is not always the best option.

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