Rio Ferdinand admits Jonny Evans has proven him wrong at Man Utd | Football

Jonny Evans signed a short-term deal with Manchester United last summer (Picture: Getty)

Rio Ferdinand says Jonny Evans has far surpassed his expectations since rejoining Manchester United and believes the veteran centre-back has arguably been the club’s ‘best defender’ this season.

Eyebrows were raised when United announced that Evans, 36, had put pen to paper on a short-term deal at Old Trafford last summer, eight years after his first spell with United came to an end.

Evans had been training with United’s Under-21 team after leaving Leicester City at the end of last season and impressed Erik ten Hag, who gave the green light for the Red Devils to resign the Northern Ireland international.

The centre-half has gone on to make 17 appearances for United in all competitions, including 12 starts in the Premier League, receiving widespread praise for his level of performance in the twilight years of his career.

Earlier this month, Ferdinand argued that Evans’ second-half substitution in the Manchester derby proved a ‘big disruption’ for United as City came from behind to beat their bitter rivals 3-1 at the Etihad.

And while Ferdinand has gone on record saying Evans ‘shouldn’t be at the club’, he admits his former team-mate has proven him wrong with the way he has conducted himself across the campaign.

‘He’s been arguably our best defender this year and that says a lot,’ the legendary ex-United and England defender told Cool FM News in Northern Ireland.

Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans

Ferdinand and Evans were team-mates at Manchester United (Picture: Getty)

‘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.’

Liverpool youngster Bradley has impressed in Alexander-Arnold’s absence this season (Picture: Getty)

Ferdinand was also full of praise for Evans’ fellow countryman Conor Bradley, who has proved a more than capable understudy to Trent Alexander-Arnold at Liverpool this season.

‘He’s a modern day full-back, up and down. He’s really comfortable in attacking areas,’ Ferdinand added.

‘As I’ve mentioned before with Kobbie [Mainoo], he hasn’t seemed fazed.

‘You’ve got to remember that there’s an added layer for him. He’s come in and replacing one of the best full-backs in the world in Trent.

‘That’s a pressure that I’ve not really heard anyone talk about. That’s a big pressure, that.

‘It’s not like he’s coming in for one of the average players in the team… he’s coming in for one of the mainstays in the team so that brings a huge amount of pressure that he seems to have dealt with really, really well.

‘He looks a good kid and he looks like somebody who has been working hard behind the scenes for a long time to get to where he is so he deserves it.’

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