On Friday, the Premier League released a list of the retained and released list of players from all of 20 clubs for the season ending.
There weren’t many big surprises, least of all for Manchester United. The obvious departures of Nemanja Vidic, Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand were listed, as well as Federico Macheda’s somehow ‘legendary’ moment accompanied with his name too.
Another of the club’s longer serving players in Patrice Evra was fittingly meant to be departing with his legendary compatriots, but that departure has been delayed for another season at least by the man himself.
Evra has agreed a year extension to his contract, whereby a clause in his contract was triggered at the end of the season which left United obliged to offer the Frenchman a new contract as he recorded the minimum games required. Only David De Gea was able to beat Evra in playing more times for United than anybody else, a season that saw the left-back play 45 times for the club, bringing his stay at United nearer to the decade and 400 appearance mark.
Most players can’t seem to offer more than what they show on the pitch, and should it have been another name other than Patrice Evra, there may have not been such a hesitance in wanting him to leave by the fans. Fortunately, Evra continues to pluck at the heartstrings of these same fans that he has created a covalent bond with for years now, as early as his arrival in 2006. Since then, he’s piled up a compilation of antics and quotes that speaks just like a supporter of Manchester United exemplifies off the pitch, and would on the pitch given half the chance.
His renowned ability of leadership in the dressing room, both as a motivator and class clown, will forever be attributed with him wherever he goes. His remarkable experience and longevity is another factor to why he would be a superior figure for someone like Luke Shaw to look up to, both as a role model and friend.
His decline in the last two or so years is apparent, his deterioration in his ability to mark and position himself well enough as the modern day left back requires, with the fresh pair of legs that he craves for. Evra’s versatility remains as deadly like a knife with a serrated edge, evident with the significant increase of assists and goals that he has recorded over the past two campaigns. Most incredibly, his last ‘stunning’ goal which came in Munich provided United with a season-telling story of it being the highest peak in the season, albeit for 20 seconds.
You would fail to find a United fan who would want Evra to play the near half century of games in a single season that he has been doing for the best part of his career. With the imminent arrival of Luke Shaw, Evra himself will find any egotistical features in himself for Van Gaal preferring the 18-year-old over the 33-year-old. The advantage to this situation being than had it been any other player, they would have relished under the opportunity to leave United the season before they spend it as an understudy, leaving the club hopeless in faith of Alexander Büttner being second choice.
Role model, example – call Patrice Evra what you like. It can be considered a blessing in itself that the man from France is ‘the chosen one’ to mentor our new left back for the 2014/15 season.
By Abdullah Mamaniyat
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