Manchester United star Jonny Evans has hailed the impact of former teammate Rio Ferdinand on how his career has unfolded.
Evans recently made his 200th appearance for United in a 1-0 win against Burnley at Turf Moor, eight years after his first spell at the club.
The North Ireland international was sensational. He not only registered an assist for the only goal of the match but also scored only for VAR to chalk off his headed effort.
At 35, Evans is one of the senior players in the current United team. His experience and leadership are some of the reasons Erik ten Hag deemed it fit to hand him a one-year contract.
In an interview with TNT via club media, he noted the influence of those he played with including Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Wes Brown.
Evans said, “I’ve seen things where I thought ‘I’d like to try that’ or I like the way they do something. So I’ve learnt a lot over the years and your youngest days are probably when you’re most impressionable and I think, you know, obviously Rio [Ferdinand], Wes [Brown], [Nemanja] Vidic – top players.”
“I was always sort of coming in to try to learn as much as I could from them and I remember Wes giving me tips on how to, not necessarily how to head the ball, but how to compete to head the ball.”
“And I used to watch Rio and Rio had an unbelievable skill of getting his leg in front of the centre-forward and nicking the ball.”
“So they were all brilliant, as defenders, to learn off and I’m very fortunate to be able to see that up close and be able to learn from such top players.”
He explained that off the pitch, Ferdinand was undoubtedly his role model.
As per Evans, the former England international “took him under his wing” and moulded him into the professional he is today.
He added that Ferdinand was an “amazing” player to look up to and have in the dressing room.
Evans told TNT that his exit from United in 2015 was “a natural process” and that while he never wanted to leave, his desire to get regular playing time elsewhere ultimately motivated his decision to seek a fresh challenge.