Daily Mail

Fergie told me to go to West Brom and it was great advice, says Evans


WHEN Jonny Evans sat down with Sir Alex Ferguson in a golf buggy two years ago and discussed changing clubs, it had nothing to do with the 18 holes they were about to play. Evans knew that his 11-year associatio­n with Manchester United was coming to an end and his former manager Ferguson thought West Brom would be the ideal club for the Northern Ireland defender. ‘He’s obviously big friends with Tony Pulis and was pushing me in that direction,’ recalls Evans (right). ‘I thanked him for that and took his advice.’ It turned out to be good advice. Since moving to The Hawthorns in 2015 for £6million to join his friend and former United teammate Darren Fletcher, who has just been offered a new two-year contract at West Brom, Evans has developed into an even better centre back. At Old Trafford, Evans was falling behind Chris Smalling and Phil Jones in the pecking order. ‘I could see the signs,’ he says. Both England internatio­nals will be missing through injury today when Evans returns to Old Trafford with West Brom. On current form, 29-year-old Evans is more than a match for either of them but there are no regrets over his departure. ‘No, I’m very comfortabl­e with it,’ says Evans, who makes the 150-mile round trip from his Cheshire home to the Midlands for training each day. ‘I know it’s a cliche that you can’t beat playing week in, week out but you really can’t. Being a part of something and going into training again enjoying yourself and looking forward to the weekend.’ Evans has formed one of the strongest central defensive partnershi­ps in the Premier League with 37-year-old Gareth McAuley. The pairing is also the bedrock of a promising Northern Ireland World Cup campaign. Only England, Germany and Croatia have conceded fewer goals in European qualifying. No surprise then that Evans was linked with Arsenal last summer, but he doesn’t have any plans to move again. ‘When I went to West Brom, I was at the age in my career where I thought I’m going to be there for quite a while,’ he says. ‘I wanted to go somewhere I could settle and try and make a mark on the club. I still feel that my best playing days are to come.’

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