This time last season Sir Alex Ferguson claimed with some justification that Jonny Evans was arguably the best defender in the country after a string of stunning performances had helped see the Reds move a step closer towards title number 20.
Fast forward 12 months and while Evans has played a big part in United’s title charge, he hasn’t been the mainstay in the centre of defence he was in the last campaign. As Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have been able to roll back the years for several games, Evans has missed out.
Evans missing out when Vidic and Ferdinand are fit is hardly a revelation and certainly doesn’t mean much long-term wise for the former academy defender, but the partnership that Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have shown in the centre of defence together for United against West Ham in the FA Cup and for England under 21s means that could well be the future for the Reds.
Although Jones can do a job in midfield, many see his future lying at the heart of the defence, alongside Smalling who’s performances at right back this season have shown he’s not nearly as suited to full back as he is the centre.
Evans has had to bide his time and may seem like the natural heir to Rio or Vidic at the heart of the defence but could the Northern Irishman find himself being understudy to a central defensive partnership yet again in the future? It may seem a tad far-fetched that a defender who over the past few years has proven his worth to the side could end up being third choice, but if the Jones/Smalling partnership really is the future, then maybe Evans will have to miss out.
Have I gone in off the deep end or are Jones and Smalling set to replace Rio and Vidic in the long run?
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