Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Craigan enjoys Evans partnership

Stephen Craigan

Stephen Craigan lauded his central defensive partner Jonny Evans as he prepared to captain Northern Ireland on Wednesday night in a friendly against Montenegro.

Evans, 22, helped Manchester United win the Community Shield on Sunday and has been tipped to become a future skipper of his country.

Craigan, who wears Motherwell's colours, said: "If you watch Jonny in training, he is so relaxed. Everything is off the cuff and it looks so natural."

He added: "I see some of the things he does and if some of our boys were to try them, they would probably do their cruciate ligaments.

"With his passing and his touch I really do think he could play anywhere. He is just so comfortable.

"People speak about Jonny learning but I learn off him. He is phenomenal, a top, top player.

"I think he has grown in stature. He is more confident and playing in the Manchester United first team he knows what is he is doing. He is top notch."

With skipper Aaron Hughes injured, Craigan will again lead the team out - when he wins his 49th cap - as he did during the two-match mini tour in the summer against Turkey and Chile.

He was given the nod ahead of goalkeeper Maik Taylor and Worthington said: "Stephen is heading towards his 50th cap and with Aaron not being here it is nice to share the captaincy around.

"Stephen has been the captain in the last two games and did very well in the role. I spoke to Maik and he had no issues with it at all. He is delighted for Stephen. It is good for the group that different players can have that experience."

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