Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

‘One of the best’ Man Utd players forces Rio Ferdinand into major climbdown

Rio Ferdinand, Man Utd

Rio Ferdinand has changed his mind on a Man Utd player

Rio Ferdinand has admitted he was wrong about Manchester United signing his former team-mate Jonny Evans, labelling the centre-back Erik ten Hag’s best defender this season.

After coming through the Man Utd academy, Evans played 198 times for the Red Devils between 2006 and 2015. In that time, he helped Man Utd win one Champions League, three Premier League titles and three League Cups, while also heading out on loan to Sunderland and Royal Antwerp.

Evans went on to sign for West Bromwich Albion and Leicester City and was part of the Foxes side which lifted the FA Cup in 2021.

Surprisingly, the 36-year-old returned to Old Trafford last summer when Man Utd signed him on a one-year contract to bolster their defensive ranks. That came after a successful trial spell under Ten Hag.

Pundits have questioned why Man Utd would even be interested in a veteran player such as Evans, as the Premier League rivals they eventually want to catch –  Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City – would not complete such a signing.

Earlier this month, Ferdinand said Evans ‘shouldn’t be’ at the club as it ‘shows where Man Utd are’.

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But in an interview with Northern Irish media, the pundit praised Evans and admitted he’s performed ‘really well’.

“He’s been arguably our best defender this year and that says a lot,” Ferdinand said.

Jonny Evans changes Rio Ferdinand’s stance

“When he first signed, and even though he’s my mate and I played with him, I was like, ‘Flippin’ hell, how are we signing Jonny at this time?! Are we going backwards?’

“But he’s come in and when he has been asked to do a job, he’s done it really, really well.

“I was with him the other day at the training ground and he has surprised himself in terms of the amount of game time he’s had, but then you’ve got to go out there and produce and play.

“That’s testament to him as a professional footballer as well because you’ve got to prepare yourself and you’ve got to be ready for those moments, and he has been, so good luck to him.”

Evans will be hoping to feature when Man Utd travel to Brentford in the Premier League on Saturday night.

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