Jonny Evans- The Finest Centre Half in the Premier League
Despite always being a prodigiously talented home-grown centre half, it is only recently that Jonny Evans has finally got the last few doubters off his back after a succession of simply world-class performances. A rock at the heart of Manchester United’s defence during this calendar year, Evans is now legitimately (during Vidic’s recovery from injury) United’s first choice defender.
Commonly labelled a liability in the past and unfairly blamed for United’s 6-1 humbling against City, the Northern Irishman is now showing a confidence and maturity that few suspected he was capable of. Alongside any of Vidic, Ferdinand, Smalling or Jones, Evans has shown himself to be a versatile defender equally capable of dealing with balls in front of him and, unlike John Terry and Nemanja Vidic, behind him. Like Kompany and Ferdinand, Evans is an intelligent defender who has great athleticism and reads play well as shown by the infrequency of fouls that he commits nowadays (even though there is an element of fortune in it- like all impressive stats).
Via @OptaJoe during the West Ham United Match: 1 – Jonny Evans has conceded his first foul of the Premier League season, after 11 hours 31 minutes of play. Hatchet.
Confident with the ball at his feet, Evans is not scared of running past the half way line or swinging it across field. Very much in the mould of a modern centre back, he is very capable of adapting to slight tactical shifts and is able to deal effectively with roaming front lines, both big and small, from the edge of his 6 yard box or half way line. This was never shown more effectively than during his heroic performance against Portugal recently where he single handedly shackled Cristiano Ronaldo and Co during their 1-1 draw.
Playing well with Rio Ferdinand this year, Evans has made 9 appearances in the Premier League so far this season and has 3 goals in his last 7 matches- a record that Wayne Rooney may be envious of at this rate! With more goals than Balotelli so far this season,* Evans will be pleased with his recent success in front of goal, much to the surprise of everyone using Unibet Premier League Odds, as there is certainly no better way to endear yourself to the home fans or doubters than with a few goals.
By adding some goals to his resume, Evans has added an extra dimension to his game and lift himself into the top percentile of premier league centre halfs. Younger and superior than the the likes of Cahill, Lescott, Vermalean and Coloccinni, Evans is now only comparable to the likes of Vidic, Terry and Kompany on the strength of recent performances and, out of that group, is the one with the most potential going forward. A measure of his meteoric rise over the last 18 months.
As Sir Alex Ferguson has recently reiterated, at 24 years of age, Evans is maturing greatly and already has a lot of experience playing for Manchester United. Reds may worry that Vincent Kompany is only 26 and has many years ahead of them but similarly the Blues will be equally, if not more (in light of the latters shaky start to the season), worried by the defender United have to guard their goal for the next 10 years in Jonny.
In the short-term, Evans will now be hoping to help the defence pick up a few more clean sheets in the run up to Christmas and will be looking forward to reforming another great partnership with Nemanja- who we all know, if he returns to his form pre-injury, is not only be the best centre half in the Premier League but in the world. In the long term, Sir Alex might just make some captaincy material out of the eloquent, academy graduate yet!
*it had to be said