Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

From living room woe to living the dream at European Finals for Jonny Evans

Jonny: In 2012 I was injured, watching the Euros on TV

By Steven Beacom

Jonny Evans can smile at the thought of it now. But four years ago, he felt the pain.

Like other Northern Ireland players, Evans watched the Euro 2012 finals, which were staged in Poland and Ukraine, on television, though with one notable difference.

The West Bromwich Albion defender, then at Manchester United, was sat in a chair with his leg up recovering from surgery.

More: Northern Ireland at Euro 2016 France Finals: Everything the Green and White Army needs to know

Fast forward to the Euro 2016 finals and the 28-year-old won't be a spectator from his living room this time.

Instead he will be smack bang in the middle of the action with Michael O'Neill's side when they take on Poland, Ukraine and World champions Germany in France.

"Four years ago I had literally just undergone an ankle operation," recalled Evans.

"I'd come out of surgery and I think England and France were playing each other in the tournament.

"I had the leg propped up the whole tournament, sitting watching the games.

"I was in a single armchair, in front of the television, recuperating from injury.

"Euro 2012 was a great tournament and I vividly remember thinking how fantastic it would be to play on such a stage with Northern Ireland.

"I knew some of the players involved in the 2012 tournament so I was following it very closely. For us to be there now is great.

"It'll be weird not being that man on the sofa. I can't wait to be involved. It promises to be an incredible experience and one that we are really looking forward to."

More: Euros take second place as football star Stuart Dallas flies back home to marry the love of his life

Evans will be one of the few Northern Ireland players to go into the tournament with Champions League experience, having played in European football's premier club competition for several seasons with United.

In those games he faced the best strikers on the planet and will be up against another two in France in the shape of German hitman Thomas Muller and Polish superstar Robert Lewandowski.

He feels ready to accept the challenge wearing the colours of Northern Ireland.

"Facing them (Muller and Lewandowski) are the big challenges you face as a player," said Evans.

"Sometimes as a defender, playing against better players, you up your game and your concentration levels have to be raised.

"You try and get yourself into a mindset where you're totally focused on the game.

"Every one of us will have to do that if we want to be successful in this tournament."

Evans would love to repeat the outcome of seven years ago when he came face to face with Bayern Munich star Lewandowski at Windsor Park.

Back then in a World Cup qualifier, Evans scored in a 3-2 victory. Lewandowski has come a long way since then, scoring 13 goals in the Euro 2016 qualification process equalling the record of Northern Ireland legend David Healy.

Evans revealed that the team have already watched video footage of Poland's most influential performer ahead of the June 12 clash in Nice.

"We've watched a few clips already," stated the WBA ace. "We also watch a lot of football, so we see him quite a bit on television and so on.

George Best Belfast City Airport provide a water cannon spray as members of the Northern Ireland football squad join Manager Michael O'Neill as they leave Northern Ireland to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
George Best Belfast City Airport provide a water cannon spray as members of the Northern Ireland football squad join Manager Michael O'Neill as they leave Northern Ireland to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's captain Steven Davis pictured with airline captain Vladimir Korosec as they leave from George Best Belfast City Airport to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Members of the Northern Ireland football squad join Manager Michael OÕNeill and Captain Steve Davis as they leave Northern Ireland from George Best Belfast City Airport to take part in a training camp in Austria before the 2016 Euros. Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press Belfast: Monday 30th May 2016:
Northern Ireland players pictured as they leave from George Best Belfast City Airport to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland players pictured as they leave from George Best Belfast City Airport to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty pictured as they leave from George Best Belfast City Airport to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair pictured as they leave from George Best Belfast City Airport to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Roy Carroll pictured as they leave from George Best Belfast City Airport to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Northern Ireland's Aaron Hughes pictured as they leave from George Best Belfast City Airport to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Members of the Northern Ireland football squad join Manager Michael OÕNeill and Captain Steve Davis as they leave Northern Ireland from George Best Belfast City Airport to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2016 - Jamie Ward with members of the Northern Ireland football squad as they leave Northern Ireland from George Best Belfast City Airport to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2016 - Members of the Northern Ireland football squad join Manager Michael OÕNeill and Captain Steve Davis as they leave Northern Ireland from George Best Belfast City Airport to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2016 - Members of the Northern Ireland football squad join Manager Michael OÕNeill and Captain Steve Davis as they leave Northern Ireland from George Best Belfast City Airport to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2016 - Manager Michael O'Neill leaves Northern Ireland from George Best Belfast City Airport to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2016 - Members of the Northern Ireland football squad leave Northern Ireland from George Best Belfast City Airport to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2016 - Members of the Northern Ireland football squad join Manager Michael OÕNeill and Captain Steve Davis as they leave Northern Ireland from George Best Belfast City Airport to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2016 - Manager Michael OÕNeill leaves Northern Ireland from George Best Belfast City Airport to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Members of the Northern Ireland football squad join Manager Michael O'Neill as they leave Northern Ireland from George Best Belfast City Airport to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Members of the Northern Ireland football squad join Manager Michael OÕNeill and Captain Steve Davis as they leave Northern Ireland from George Best Belfast City Airport to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Members of the Northern Ireland football squad join Manager Michael O'Neill as they leave the Culloden Hotel to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Members of the Northern Ireland football squad join Manager Michael O'Neill as they leave the Culloden Hotel to take part in a training camp in Austria in advance of the 2016 Euros. Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2016 - Photo by William Cherry
Fans watch manager Michael O'Neill making the squad announcement. Photo: Kelvin Boyes
IFA Squad announcement at Titanic Belfast. Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Manager Michael O'Neil making the squad announcement. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 28th May 2016 - Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. IFA Squad announcement at Titanic Belfast. In what is being hailed as one of the most significant events in local sporting history, Northern Ireland have qualified for UEFA Euro 2016 due to take place in France next month. Manager Michael OÕNeil is pictured making the squad announcement.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 28th May 2016 - Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. IFA Squad announcement at Titanic Belfast. In what is being hailed as one of the most significant events in local sporting history, Northern Ireland have qualified for UEFA Euro 2016 due to take place in France next month. Manager Michael OÕNeil is pictured making the squad announcement.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 28/05/2016 Northern Ireland manager Michael ONeill announces his squad for Euro 2016 in France at Titanic Belfast this afternoon. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 28/05/2016 Northern Ireland manager Michael ONeill announces his squad for Euro 2016 in France at Titanic Belfast this afternoon. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 28/05/2016 Northern Ireland manager Michael ONeill announces his squad for Euro 2016 in France at Titanic Belfast this afternoon. Pictured is Colin Murray. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 28/05/2016 Northern Ireland manager Michael ONeill announces his squad for Euro 2016 in France at Titanic Belfast this afternoon. Pictured are Northern Ireland legends Peter McParland, Pat Genninings and Billy Hamilton. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 28/05/2016 Northern Ireland manager Michael ONeill announces his squad for Euro 2016 in France at Titanic Belfast this afternoon. Pictured is Colin Murray. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 28th May 2016 - Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. IFA Squad announcement at Titanic Belfast. In what is being hailed as one of the most significant events in local sporting history, Northern Ireland have qualified for UEFA Euro 2016 due to take place in France next month. Manager Michael OÕNeil is pictured making the squad announcement.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 28th May 2016 - Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. IFA Squad announcement at Titanic Belfast. In what is being hailed as one of the most significant events in local sporting history, Northern Ireland have qualified for UEFA Euro 2016 due to take place in France next month. Manager Michael OÕNeil.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 28th May 2016 - Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. IFA Squad announcement at Titanic Belfast. In what is being hailed as one of the most significant events in local sporting history, Northern Ireland have qualified for UEFA Euro 2016 due to take place in France next month. Fans watch Manager Michael OÕNeil making the squad announcement.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 28th May 2016 - Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. IFA Squad announcement at Titanic Belfast. In what is being hailed as one of the most significant events in local sporting history, Northern Ireland have qualified for UEFA Euro 2016 due to take place in France next month. Fans watch Manager Michael OÕNeil making the squad announcement.
IFA Squad announcement at Titanic Belfast. Manager Michael O'Neill is pictured making the squad announcement. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 28th May 2016 - Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. IFA Squad announcement at Titanic Belfast. In what is being hailed as one of the most significant events in local sporting history, Northern Ireland have qualified for UEFA Euro 2016 due to take place in France next month. Manager Michael OÕNeil is pictured with his family before making the squad announcement.
Northern Ireland football legends Peter McParland, Pat Jennings and Billy Hamilton at the squad announcement. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Northern Ireland fans display a banner before the International Friendly at Windsor Park, Belfast. Pic Niall Carson
Will Grigg. Pic kevin Scott
Matthew,Chris,Robyn and Richard Knox from Lisburn watching Northern Ireland and Belarus during Friday night's Vauxhall Friendly International match at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Sports Minister Paul Givan MLA pictured at the National Stadium, Windsor Park with Northern Ireland President Jim Shaw. The Minister wished the Northern Ireland team every success as they continue their preparations for the European Championship Finals in France.
Northern Ireland's Conor Washington (left) celebrates with team-mate Kyle Lafferty (centre) after scoring his side's second goal during the International Friendly at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas (left) and Belarus' Nikolai Yanush battle for the ball during the International Friendly at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Northern Ireland's Conor Washington (11) celebrates with his team-mates after scoring his side's second goal during the International Friendly at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 27: Conor Washington (R) of Northern Ireland scores during the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 26, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 27: Conor Washington of Northern Ireland celebrates after scoring during the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 26, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 27: Conor Washington (R) of Northern Ireland scores during the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 26, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Conor Washington of Northern Ireland celebrates after scoring during the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 26, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 27: Conor Washington of Northern Ireland celebrates after scoring during the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 26, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 27: Conor Washington of Northern Ireland celebrates after scoring during the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 26, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 27: Conor Washington of Northern Ireland celebrates after scoring during the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 26, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 27: Conor Washington of Northern Ireland celebrates after scoring during the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 26, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Conor Washington of Northern Ireland celebrates after scoring during the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 26, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during the International Friendly at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Belarus' Igor Shitov (left) and Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas battle for the ball during the International Friendly at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Northern Ireland's fans celebrate the second goal against Belarus during an international friendly football match between Northern Ireland and Belarus at Windsor Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on May 27, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty rues a missed chance during the International Friendly at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Northern Ireland's Conor Washington (R) celebrates after scoring the team's second goal against Belarus during an international friendly football match between Northern Ireland and Belarus at Windsor Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on May 27, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Northern Ireland's Conor Washington celebrates after scoring the team's second goal against Belarus during an international friendly football match between Northern Ireland and Belarus at Windsor Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on May 27, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Northern Ireland's Conor Washington (left) and Belarus' Nikita Korzun battle for the ball during the International Friendly at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 27: Kyle Lafferty of Northern Ireland celebrates after scoring during the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 26, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 27: Conor Washington (L) of Northern Ireland and Mikita Korzun (R) of Belarus during the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 26, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands Paddy McNair and Belarus' Siarhei Krivets in action during the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands Amy and Callum Lister from Belfast in action during the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands Score 1-0 vs Belarus in action during the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands Score 1-0 vs Belarus in action during the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands Roy Carroll celebrating in action during the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands Roy Carroll celebrating in action during the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands XXX and Belarus' YYY in action during the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands XXX and Belarus' YYY in action during the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Pacemaker Belfast 27-5-16 Northern Ireland v Belarus - International Friendly Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates his goal during tonight's game at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 27-5-16 Northern Ireland v Belarus - International Friendly Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates his goal during tonight's game at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 27-5-16 Northern Ireland v Belarus - International Friendly Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates his goal during tonight's game at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 27-5-16 Northern Ireland v Belarus - International Friendly Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates his goal during tonight's game at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 27-5-16 Northern Ireland v Belarus - International Friendly Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates his goal during tonight's game at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 27-5-16 Northern Ireland v Belarus - International Friendly Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates his goal during tonight's game at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Sports Minister Paul Givan MLA pictured at the National Stadium, Windsor Park with Northern Ireland President Jim Shaw. The Minister wished the Northern Ireland team every success as they continue their preparations for the European Championship Finals in France.
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands Luke McCullough and Belarus' Siarhei Kisliak in action during the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
PACEMAKER BELFAST 27/05/2016 Northern Ireland v Belarus Friendly International Belarus fan during this evenings Friendly International at Windsor park. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 27-5-16 Northern Ireland v Belarus - International Friendly Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty and Belarus Alyaksandr Martynovich (Captain) during tonight's game at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 27-5-16 Northern Ireland v Belarus - International Friendly Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty and Belarus Egor Filipenko during tonight's game at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 27-5-16 Northern Ireland v Belarus - International Friendly Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty and Belarus Egor Filipenko during tonight's game at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 27-5-16 Northern Ireland v Belarus - International Friendly Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair during tonight's game at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 27-5-16 Northern Ireland v Belarus - International Friendly Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair during tonight's game at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 27th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Northern Ireland Kyle Lafferty scores a goal past Belarus goal keeper Andrei Harbunov during Friday night's Vauxhall Friendly International match at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 27th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Northern Ireland Stuart Dallas and Belarus Mikhail Hardzeichuk during Friday night's Vauxhall Friendly International match at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 27th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Northern Ireland Stuart Dallas and Belarus Ihar Shitau during Friday night's Vauxhall Friendly International match at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 27th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Northern Ireland Steven Davis and Belarus Nikita Korzun during Friday night's Vauxhall Friendly International match at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 27th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Northern Ireland Chris Baird and Belarus Maksim Valadzko during Friday night's Vauxhall Friendly International match at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands Roy Carroll in action during the friendly between Northern Ireland and Belarus as the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 27th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Northern Ireland Kyle Lafferty challenged by Belarus Ihar Shitau and Mikhail Hardzeichuk during Friday night's Vauxhall Friendly International match at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands Roy Carroll in action during the friendly between Northern Ireland and Belarus as the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Sports Minister Paul Givan MLA pictured at the National Stadium, Windsor Park with Northern Ireland Legends Pat Jennings and Sammy McIlroy. The Minister wished the Northern Ireland team every success as they continue their preparations for the European Championship Finals in France.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Sports Minister Paul Givan MLA pictured at the National Stadium, Windsor Park with Northern Ireland Legend Pat Jennings. The Minister wished the Northern Ireland team every success as they continue their preparations for the European Championship Finals in France.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Sports Minister Paul Givan MLA pictured at the National Stadium, Windsor Park with Northern Ireland Legends Pat Jennings and Sammy McIlroy. The Minister wished the Northern Ireland team every success as they continue their preparations for the European Championship Finals in France.
Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty celebrates his goal during tonight's game at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands Windsor Park in action during the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands Windsor Park in action during the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands Amy and Callum Lister from Belfast in action during the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands Andy and Micky Longstaff from Crumlin in action during the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2016 Vauxhall International Challenge Match Northern Ireland Vs Belarus at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast. Left to right. Flag bearers Sara Lockhead, Benjamin Jackson and Jody Burns. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands Windsor Park in action during the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands Heather and Keith Cassell with Kate Turner in action during the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands Simon and Martin Thompson with Jeff Patterson in action during the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2016 Vauxhall International Challenge Match Northern Ireland Vs Belarus at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast. Left to right. Flag bearers Jody Burns, Alex Corr, Sara Lockhead and Benjamin Jackson Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands Graeme Beggs and family in action during the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast , UK - May 27, Pictured is Northern Irelands David and Adam Orr in action during the last home game before heading to the Euros on May 27 2016 in Belfast , Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 27th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye George Emerson with his son Cameron aged 14 from Bangor watching Northern Ireland and Belarus during Friday night's Vauxhall Friendly International match at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 27th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Jennifer Simpson and Kathleen Graham from Newtownabbey watching Northern Ireland and Belarus during Friday night's Vauxhall Friendly International match at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 27th May 2016 Mandatory Credit -Brian Little/Presseye Darren Hamill and son Scott, aged 10, from Lisburn watching Northern Ireland and Belarus during Friday night's Vauxhall Friendly International match at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
A Northern Ireland fan in the stands before the International Friendly at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
A Northern Ireland fan in the stands before the International Friendly at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 27: A Northern Ireland fan poses with a green beret before the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 26, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland fans in the stands before the International Friendly at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Northern Ireland fans in the stands before the International Friendly at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Northern Ireland's Chris Baird before the International Friendly at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 27, 2016. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 27: Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair high-fives some fans before the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 26, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 27: Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair high-fives some fans before the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 26, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 27: Belarus players take a stroll on the pitch before the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 26, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 27: Northern Ireland players pictured before the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 26, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 27: Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty (L) and Stuart Dallas (R) pose with fans before the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 26, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 27: Belarus players take a stroll on the pitch before the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 26, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 27: Northern Ireland players pictured before the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 26, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

"He played against us in Belfast a few years back, but I think he played on the right that day. He was just breaking his way into the Poland squad.

"He's obviously a great finisher. He's got speed, a good physique and technique. He's got everything you'd want in a centre forward.

"He's also playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world and banging in the goals for them, so he's going to be a really hard player to play against."

Whether Evans is taking on Lewandowski as part of a four-man or three-man defence remains to be seen.

At the moment it appears as though manager Michael O'Neill will opt for a 3-5-2.

The ex-Old Trafford ace added: "It becomes a little more man for man (when you're in a back three).

"A lot of the time as a defender, you'll find yourself one v one defending.

"It almost becomes more of a pressing game where everyone has to get up to the ball at the right time and there's no room for error.

"We tried it in recent friendlies and it has worked quite well for us."

Evans has had a rollercoaster career with Northern Ireland and is now experiencing the biggest high.

On Saturday he should play away to Slovakia in the team's final friendly before the Euro finals and then as one of the most high profile players in the squad, there will be much scrutiny on him during the tournament.

He has the quality to deliver some big displays for his country.

Belfast Telegraph