Evans, the veteran defender, made his second debut for Manchester United in a pre-season friendly against Lyon. This marked his return to the club after a gap of eight years since his last appearance in 2015. The 35-year-old recently signed a short-term contract with United after leaving Leicester City. Manager Erik ten Hag decided to bring Evans on in the second half of the friendly against Lyon, which ended in a 1-0 victory for United.
Evans had previously played for United for nine years, making 198 appearances before departing for West Bromwich Albion. Ten Hag was impressed by Evans’ performance during training sessions with the first-team, which led to his invitation back to the club. The defender’s short-term contract allowed him to play against Lyon and he will also be eligible to play against Wrexham in the upcoming friendly in San Diego.
In the match against Lyon, Evans came off the bench in the second half, replacing Lisandro Martinez. Shortly after his introduction, Donny van de Beek scored a stunning volley to give United the lead. Ten Hag brought Evans to the club to pass on his experience to the younger players. Despite being considered a squad player during his first spell at United, Evans has since established himself as a reliable and skilled player in the Premier League.
Although Evans has faced relegation with both West Brom and Leicester, he has been praised for his ball-playing abilities and leadership qualities. He captained both clubs, although injuries limited his playing time at Leicester last season. It remains to be seen if Ten Hag will trust Evans enough to utilize him in the Premier League. However, Evans’ experience of winning trophies, including three Premier League titles and the Champions League in 2008, will undoubtedly be valuable for United as they return to the European competition next season.
Manchester United legend Jonny Evans made a remarkable return to the club after eight years, much to the delight of the Old Trafford faithful, following the surprise announcement of his permanent transfer from Leicester City.
The 32-year-old, who graduated from the club’s famed youth academy in 2014, was handed an unexpected warm welcome by the waiting crowd before the Red Devils’ FA Cup 2-1 victory over West Ham United.
With over 20 minutes of the match to be played, the eight-year absence of the Northern Ireland international was quickly forgotten as the crowd welcomed him back to Manchester United with a thunderous standing ovation.
Evans made an instant impression on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, playing an influential role as his team progressed to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, and earned himself a strong performance-related bonus for the game.
The former Wolverhampton Wanderers centre-back has been a reliable presence for both club and country since his departure from Manchester United in 2012, most notably with Leicester over the last three seasons.
Though he offered a reminder of his defensive class against West Ham, his return to the Manchester United fold has been warmly welcomed both in the dressing room and terraces, and his experience will be a huge asset for the club in the business end of the season.
Jonny Evans’ arrival at Old Trafford marks a return to the club he loves, and is living proof of just how far hard work, dedication and loyalty can take you in football.