Despite having 223 Manchester United appearances to his name, Jonny Evans still seems to making the mistakes of a 17-year-old academy graduate. Following a 1-1 draw with Stoke City on Thursday which only highlighted Evans’ flaws, United fans have justifiably been asking: is Jonny Evans good enough for United?
It’s a fair question with United looking poor defensively for the best part of three seasons and with Evans being a constant in all of those three, questions are bound to be raised over his quality. After a stellar 2011/12 season in which captain Nemanja Vidic missed a large chunk, Evans took full advantage of his absence and became United’s best defender. There were high hopes for the still relatively young Northern Irishman.
However, since then it’s fair to say his development has been rather underwhelming to the point where it’s been a case of regression rather than progression.
His 2012/13 season by comparison to the previous was below average and plagued with injuries, whilst last term under David Moyes he was one of many to vastly under perform. It seemed that after many seasons of anonymity in his seven year spell with the senior team, 2014/15 was bound to be Evans’ last chance to achieve his potential all at Old Trafford knew he had. Unfortunately, just over halfway into it, it is clear to see just how much Evans has regressed.
Evans has faced many critics in his career from talk about his lack of strength to pace or commanding presence in games, the Northern Irishman international has heard it all. The main problem recently is that despite being 26 years old and supposedly at his peak footballing age, Evans seemingly refuses to be anything other than somebody with potential.
“Instead of blossoming after becoming United’s most senior defender, Evans has regressed into his shell like a nervous tortoise afraid of the wind.”
Since his return to the side against Southampton six games ago, Evans has made a host of schoolboy errors. Often looking poor on the ball, nervous or just not sharp enough, his title of being the most senior defender at the club has been made completely irrelevant. Against Stoke, a man who should be considered the most reliable centre back in the squad looked befuddled and unable to cope with the windy conditions, long balls or the Potters’ height advantage.
There’s no doubt Evans has talent, he wouldn’t have spent his whole career at United otherwise, but a lack of concentration has cost Evans far too many times in his United career. At a time when United have made it clear they are willing to spend big to fix their squad, Evans is making himself dispensable.