Is Corry Evans about to get his big Manchester United chance?
Corry Evans is so close to a first-team debut at Manchester United he can almost touch it.
Playing for the Red Devils is everything the 20-year-old has dreamed of since before he could spell Old Trafford.
His big moment may come in the rather more humble surroundings of Glanford Park, Scunthorpe, this evening.
Sir Alex Ferguson will have Corry on the bench for the Carling Cup tie, with big brother Jonny among those given the night off.
Even if he becomes the latest name to progress from United’s youth structure through to the first-team, prominent in Corry’s thoughts is a desire to be playing his football elsewhere very soon.
While many of United’s current first-team squad have used the Carling Cup as a stepping stone, for Evans, the direct path isn’t the preferred option. Instead he sees a temporary departure and a roundabout route as the best way to the top.
And that is why hopes are being pinned on a loan move within the next few weeks — doing what any little brother should do when an older sibling achieves success and following the model of Jonny, who was twice on-loan at Sunderland before getting his big break.
“I’ve had a little taste of what it’s like to play for the first-team when I was on tour to America in the summer,” he said.
“I started once and came on in another game, but playing in a competitive game would be completely different.
“I will be involved in the squad against Scunthorpe, but I won’t be starting.
“I just hope that I get on at some stage and it would be great if that happens — a dream come true for me.”
Cynics might say if you can’t get into the team for a game against Scunthorpe United in a competition that United rank way down their priority list then you’re never going to make it.
The Evans brothers, however, have been on the track towards United’s first-team since they were plucked from Greenisland Boys, with the club so keen to sign both players that they moved the entire family — mum, dad and younger sister — to Manchester.
Corry was only 12-year-olds when he left Rathcoole, but his future had already been mapped out in front of him and like Jonny, he has never wavered off that course.
“The whole reason we came to Manchester was for Jonny and I to eventually play in the United first-team,” said Corry.
“Getting onto the bench in a Carling Cup game is more progress for me and it’s great to get that recognition.
“Hopefully there will be managers who will see me on the bench or if I come on and want to take me on-loan.
“I need to get out for a while and be tested at a higher level.
“Playing reserve team football at Manchester United isn’t challenging me anymore. We played at Bury the other night and beat them 5-1. Some of the games are too easy because of the quality we have.
“I need to get experience and then come back to United and fight for a first-team place.
“I look at what Jonny did. He went to Sunderland, did well and when he came back he was told he couldn’t go out again.
“He hardly played and went back to Sunderland again for the second half of the next season when they were in the Premier League and established himself and since he’s come back to United he hasn’t looked back.
“You’ve seen it with so many players, even as far back as David Beckham, going out on-loan has been the best thing that’s happened to them in terms of fighting for a first-team place.”
Even before Beckham’s road to stardom started in a Preston North End shirt, Ferguson was using the Carling Cup to groom his youngsters. Paul Scholes was banging in goals against lower league opposition in the competition long before other managers cottoned on to Sir Alex’s idea.
Waiting around in the hope of one game every three or four weeks for half the season isn’t enough to convince Corry to stick it out in the reserves.
“When you look at the size of the squad and the players who aren’t getting a game in the Premier League then you have doubts about whether you’ll play in the Carling Cup,” he said.
“Darron Gibson and Anderson haven’t been playing in the league and giving them game time will be the manager’s priority.”