Every United fan buried their face in their hands when Vidic injured himself against Basel. Minds whirred and thoughts of another season of Carrick as our make-shift centre back made us all quiver at the knees. What were we going to do? Step forward Jonny Evans.
Few could of imagined the turnaround that Evans has created for himself within 12 months. Last season, there was nobody lower in the pecking list than Evans for centre-back. His constant mistakes, poor positioning and minimal tactical awareness made him a liability. Nowadays, he is a completely different player.
Jonny has been branded the best defender in the country, according to the great man himself, and from his performances it is not hard to see why. He has become a guaranteed starter alongside Ferdinand and has brought the best out of our veteran and secured a lucrative partnership with him. Our defence was extremely weak at the start of the season but Rio and Evans have since brought a consistency to the lineup that has provided 11 clean sheets out of 20 Premier League games together, helping our push to the top of the league.
With 26 appearances, he is second only to Rooney in the Premier League. He has completed 1168/1292 (90.2%) of his passes. He has an average 1.9 interceptions per game, second only to Michael Carrick and 7.7 clearances per game, the highest in the team. He also has the highest aerial duels won per game (1.6) in the team.
In comparison to last year, he made only 11 appearances all season, completed 491/583 (84.2%) passes, averaged 3.1 interceptions per game, 1.8 aerial duals won per game and 5.6 clearances per game.
It is a testament to the improvements he has brought to his game. He has improved his passing accuracy, he has won more aerial duels and he has more clearances per game. He has less interceptions per game but that is more a sign of the prominence of Michael Carrick than anything. He has won more in
Added to his vast improvements to his defensive game, he also netted the first goal of his United career against Wolves and has bagged three assists so far this season.
Considering he is only 23 years old, he is far from maturity as a central defender and that is the most exciting part of it. We are yet to see the best from our Northern Irish man and if the progress made in the past year is anything to go by, then we might be seeing the rise of one of the best defenders in the league.
Quite how Jonny has been omitted from the PFA Young Player of the Year awards is beyond me. He has been out-and-out one of the best young players in the league this year, such is the ignorance of the PFA list.Regardless, Jonny is widely tipped by many as a hot contender for the club’s player of the year and if he keeps up his performances, you wouldn’t begrudge him winning it.
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