Jonny Evans is close to earning a new deal at Manchester United as a reward for impressing Erik ten Hag since returning to the club for pre-season, according to reports. The 35-year-old rejoined the Red Devils on a short-term deal last month after training with their under-21s and has left a positive impression during his brief spell with their first-team squad.
Evans has played for United in a handful of summer friendlies and featured in defence as they were beaten by Borussia Dortmund in Las Vegas on Monday. It seems as though the former Leicester City man has done enough to prove his worth to Ten Hag, with the Dutchman ready to offer him a one-year extension to keep him at United until the end of the season, according to the Belfast Telegraph.
It is said that Ten Hag has been left particularly impressed by Evans’ leadership skills and ability to play out from the back, which suits the passing style the United boss is trying to implement at Old Trafford. He is also wary of a lack of defensive cover, with Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly having been linked with exits and Axel Tuanzebe being released by the Red Devils earlier this summer.
Ten Hag is now thought to be willing to turn to Evans, who came through United’s academy as a youngster and made over 130 appearances in all competitions for the club between 2006 and 2015, winning three Premier League titles in the process. Spells at West Bromwich Albion and Leicester City followed before Evans left the Foxes upon their relegation back to the Championship at the end of last season.
Evans was publicly hailed by Ten Hag after it was confirmed that he would be joining United’s squad for their pre-season tour, with his experience coming in handy on the training ground alongside some of the club’s younger players over the last few weeks.
“I think he helped us, as you said, [with] younger players, but also for numbers here,” said Ten Hag. “Not all the internationals were in and we had to manage the load from the players so that was really useful.
“Jonny wants to stay fit, he still wants a career. Last week I think he played a very good game against Lyon and you could see how he was mentoring the younger players and I think he was pushing the younger players to a higher level and that can be really helpful.”
Meanwhile, the Red Devils were recently urged to tie Evans down to a longer-term deal by Northern Ireland skipper Steven Davis, who believes that his international team-mate is still more than capable of thriving at the highest level.
“Having played with him for so many years I know the quality he possesses and what he brings with his experience to a dressing room,” said Davis.
“I’m sure that was noticed quite early on having been away from the club for a few years. I wouldn’t put it past him extending his stay there beyond pre-season. I think we were all surprised when Man United let him go because whenever you play with him and see the quality he has first hand, it is a player every one rates very highly.”
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