I wouldn’t know how to celebrate if I scored: Jonny Evans
Jonny Evans has abandoned the idea of practising a goal celebration for when he eventually breaks his Manchester United duck.
The Northern Ireland defender has now gone past a century of appearances for the Old Trafford outfit. And still the scoresheet remains blank.
Evans' latest near-miss came at QPR on Sunday when he nodded a first-half chance against the crossbar.
It is starting to get a little irritating now for the 23-year-old, who admits he can no longer think about what routine to perform when he does find the net.
“I did have one worked out a few years ago but I would be too embarrassed to celebrate now,” said Evans.
“I would just walk away, probably more out of relief than anything else.
“I don't know when I will get one. Hopefully soon. I must have had three or four chances against QPR. Nani put in some good deliveries from the corners and I was finding it easy to lose my marker.
“It was just unfortunate none of them went in.”
Instead, Michael Carrick was the sole addition to Wayne Rooney's first-minute opener on the kind of day when it made Roy Keane's clinical analysis of United's youngsters appear questionable. Keane has railed against the Red Devils' youth before. It probably cost the Irishman his job, once a furious row with former assistant Carlos Queiroz was taken into account.
Yet in the same way Keane correctly stated it was impossible for him to be interviewed, even by MUTV, and put a positive gloss on an horrendous 4-1 defeat at Middlesbrough, so Ferguson would be failing in his duty if he condemned his young players for no reason other than they are receiving over-the-top praise from other quarters.
After all, it was England boss Fabio Capello who likened Phil Jones to Franco Baresi and Fernando Hierro.
A player of undeniable promise, the teenager is still prone to basic mistakes, even if Carrick follows his manager's lead in extenuating the positives.
“Phil is doing very well,” said the midfielder. “He could have had a goal or two himself with his late runs from deep, especially in the first-half when he was a real threat.
“He excels in both sides of the game. He is young and he is learning. He has played in a number of positions so far and never looked out of place in any of them. What a great signing he has proved to be.”
The return of Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov means that even if Tom Cleverley and Anderson are prevented from returning over the festive programme, which after tomorrow's trip to Fulham sees United tackle relegation-threatened duo Wigan and Blackburn on home soil, Ferguson has the resources to deploy Rooney in a deeper role.
At the back, Rio Ferdinand has managed to string an impressive nine games out of 10 together which, given the season-long absence of Nemanja Vidic, could prove crucial as the title fight reaches its end.
“I have a good understanding with Rio,” said Evans.
“Any defender will tell you they will be happy when they keep a clean sheet.
“It also makes things easier when the team is working hard around you, especially from the front.”