Jonny Evans has revealed that Erik ten Hag first proposed the idea of bringing him back to Manchester United last season when the club faced Leicester City at the King Power Stadium in September 2022.
A goal from Jadon Sancho clinched all three points for United.
Evans, who recently chalked up 200 appearances for United in a brilliant personal performance against Burnley at Turf Moor, told club media that Ten Hag made a move for him after that match.
He said, “I think back to when we played last season actually. We played quite early on in the season, United won 1-0 at Leicester, and I think I had a good game that night. He gave me a little bit of a jokey comment of ‘do you fancy coming back?’ So I was like ‘yeah, yeah, of course, no problem’. And it’s funny how things work out.”
“I just don’t think either of us thought that would’ve ever have been a possibility. But I suppose maybe he thought, with my experience, and my experience of the club before, and the relationship I had with everyone here, it wouldn’t be a problem for me at this stage of my career, coming in and settling in.”
Evans stated, “I’m feeling part of it and being able to provide something. You know, I’m quite aware of my role and that is to provide cover for the other centre-backs and support the team in a different way to maybe what I’ve been used to, but I’ve just got to be ready when I can to basically try to help the team and help this club to push on.”
He told United Review that he is “having a great time” at Old Trafford during his second stint at the club.
Evans explained that what started out as a “casual role” whereby United were helping him to remain fit while searching for a new club, soon turned into something more that eventually led to his awarding of a one-year deal.
The Northern Ireland international admitted that so far this season, he has already played more games than he expected to. This has largely been due to the multiple injuries most of his colleagues in the defensive department have suffered.
On clocking 200 appearances, Evans played down the achievement and indicated that at the moment, he is solely focused on representing the Red Devils whenever called upon to play.
The 35-year-old spoke about the affection supporters have shown him since he returned.
Evans remarked, “I can [feel it]. The fans have always been amazing with me and that’s I think, when you’re an Academy player, you always get that.”
The centre-back noted that United fans share a special bond with the players who have come through the ranks.