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Evra: If he’s not Playing it’s Best he Leaves
Legendary Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra has given his thoughts on his former club via an exclusive interview with Betfair, offering his opinions on several Manchester United players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, whilst also discussing the Old Trafford club’s latest signings.
Evra had a trophy-laden spell during his eight years at Old Trafford, as the 41-year-old Frenchman managed to win 14 honours. Here we take a look at what the former United captain had to say about his former club.
Evra started off by being quick to praise new manager Erik ten Hag after the Dutchman masterminded United’s crucial 2-1 win against Liverpool, and mentioned that “when you win against Liverpool you get the fans on side, and that will be a big boost for him. Now, ten Hag will have to make decisions about the team and not think about individuality.”
This was an interesting statement by Evra, as notably, United’s starting 11 against Liverpool saw the likes of Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Cristiano Ronaldo dropped to the bench following dismal performances in their opening two matches against Brighton and Brentford.
Evra further added to this by saying: “I'm convinced that the starting eleven made a big difference in that win. If we started with the same players that started against Brighton and Brentford we would have definitely lost.”
Patrice also claims that a lot of reason for negativity around Maguire is based on the £85m transfer fee that United forked out to sign their skipper from Leicester City back in 2019. On top of this, he also believes that Shaw hasn’t been good enough since replacing himself as the Red Devil’s first-choice left-back.
The ex-AS Monaco man said: “Luke Shaw has been here for so many years and he hasn't matched the standard set by Denis Irwin or myself, and I think left-back is a really crucial position for United.”
As for his former teammate Ronaldo, Evra had this to say: “The Cristiano Ronaldo saga is another issue. Is he staying? Is he leaving? It's created a lot of confusion with fans. He's still here, the transfer window isn't closed but I think, personally knowing Cristiano, if he doesn't play he would like to leave. I think this would be the best for him and for United.”
The 41-year-old believes that it could be time for Maguire, Shaw and Ronaldo to leave the club.
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Evra’s Thoughts on United’s Victory Over Liverpool
It may come as a surprise to many who know Evra, but, the Frenchman actually predicted Liverpool to win at Old Trafford on Monday night due to his former club’s abysmal start to the season.
Evra added that he was pleasantly surprised by the attitude of the United players when watching the game, stating that “United were in a survival mode and the spirit they showed, to actually see them fighting for the badge was so pleasing for United fans.”
He also went on to say: “Let's be honest, if they lost against Liverpool I think the season would have been over and we would be talking about relegation. This win is a massive boost. I'm really pleased for all the United fans, for ten Hag and for the players because finally, they showed what we expect from them.”
Notably, Evra was full of praise for ten Hag, saying that “we should give a lot of credit to ten Hag because he's had a tough start to the season and coming into a game against Liverpool, to make changes, even in the game, you could see that he wanted the team to score that second goal to secure the win, that was really important. He's here to stay. He needs the players and the right attitudes, but I believe in this manager.”
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Former United skipper, Evra said he was very impressed with their defence against Liverpool, due to the resilience shown by new signings Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia.
Argentinian defender, Martinez, had previously come under stick from many Premier League pundits such as Jamie Carragher due to being 5ft 9, but, is yet to actually lose an areal duel whilst at United.
The 2008 Champions League winner brought up Martinez in conversation, saying “I spoke about Martinez, height isn't a problem and he showed that with his aggression.”
Martinez, who was brought in this summer from ten Hag’s old club, Ajax, was named as United’s Man of the Match in their crucial derby win.
Due to his poor performances since the start of last season, many had called for Shaw to be dropped for Malacia - this decision was vindicated as the former Feyenoord man marked Mohamed Salah out of the game. Evra was impressed and said that “Tyrell played his first game against Liverpool, he was great with his aggressiveness and willingness to play for the team, I saw personality.”
Evra also brought up recent comparisons made between himself and Malacia, as many have likened the Dutchman’s style to that of the ex-Juventus left-back.
The Frenchman made this comment on the Malacia comparison: ‘they need to be the best left-back in the world, the best left-back in the Premier League for at least four years and they need to win the league, so give him time. I'm asking fans to give him the same time that they have given to Luke Shaw.”
Interestingly, Evra also goes on to state that the fact that people still compare and talk about him shows that the club has gone wrong in terms of transfers and on-the-pitch performances.
The 41-year-old said that “This is my club, but I always want people and the fans to forget 'Patrice Evra'. If the fans still speak about me, I'm glad about it, but it means something is wrong. I wish Malacia well and I wish he makes people forget about Patrice Evra.”
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The Frenchman wants to see United favourite Marcus Rashford find consistency in his game, as he believes that the 24-year-old has the capability to be a great of the club and to be a potential captain.
Evra then went on to recall a conversation he had with Rashford in Dubai a couple of years ago: "wow, Marcus I know a lot of clubs want you" and he told me "you know Patrice, I'm going to stay at United because United are the best club in the world."
He also states that he loved Rashford’s appetite and anger against Liverpool, saying that it reminded him of the England international’s early years under Louis van Gaal. The five-time Premier League winner believes that being put up-front instead of Ronaldo could breed confidence in the 24-year-old and hopes that it reignites his career form.
What Qualities Will Casemiro Bring to United?
On Monday night, United unveiled their latest marquee signing, Casemiro in front of Old Trafford prior to kick-off. Many have questioned the price tag and contract length for a 30-year-old, but, he is undoubtedly a world-class defensive midfielder, an area that United have lacked quality in for a while now.
Evra believes that the process of the signing was good, as the links came out the blue and within close proximity to the announcement, liking it to his and Nemanja Vidic’s arrivals at Old Trafford in January of 2006 from Monaco and Spartak Moscow.
The 41-year-old has no reservations about the players' ability, saying “I'm confident, we're talking about a five-times Champions League winner. All that experience coming into the midfield. Of course, he will have to adapt to the Premier League but I've seen him many times and what a player. That's the kind of midfielder we need.”
Undoubtedly, Casemiro is an upgrade on both Fred and Scott McTominay and could provide United with a significantly more consistent platform to build on. Evra went on to add: “His experience will be a massive help. People blame players at the club, but they don't have anybody to look at, apart from Cristiano Ronaldo. The experience is really important.
Evra also believes that the signing could have a flip effect on that which Robin van Persie did for United, as he mentions that the 2012/13 title-winning side helped to cultivate a ruthless winning streak into the Dutchman, whilst showing utmost professionalism.
He believes that Casemiro’s experience and professionalism could further elevate the standards inside the United dressing room as ultimately, players will look up to him for guidance.
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