Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Manchester United: Smalling deal sparks fresh Evans doubts

Defender Chris Smalling signed on at Manchester United for another five years and immediately set his sights on remaining at Old Trafford for a long time after that.

But Jonny Evans’ future in a Manchester United jersey is a lot more uncertain now that the Northern Ireland international has slid down the pecking order behind Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Smalling with new arrival from Blackburn Rovers, Phil Jones, also greatly enhancing Sir Alex Ferguson’s defensive options.

Wolves were hoping to swoop for the Newtownabbey man and a move to Tottenham, together with striker Dimitar Berbatov, remains a possibility.

Ferguson has indicated he has no burning desire to sell Evans but the arrival of Jones and a big money offer could persuade him to wave farewell to the 23-year-old.

The centre-back has good reason to question his future at Old Trafford as the wind of change has struck the Theatre of Dreams.

Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Edwin van der Sar have all announced their retirements, whilst long-serving duo Wes Brown and John O'Shea left this week for Sunderland.

As ever though, Ferguson is re-energising his team.

Vast experience remains in the form of Ryan Giggs, now into his 21st year at Old Trafford, Ferdinand, who is about to start his 10th and Wayne Rooney, who has seven years' service behind him despite being only 25.

And it is easy to see Smalling still being around in another decade too, after pocketing a lucrative new contract as reward for an outstanding debut season following his arrival from Fulham 12 months ago.

“This is a great club and in the short time I have been here I have already achieved more than I could have ever expected to,” said the 21-year-old Londoner.

“I am looking forward to a long and successful career at Manchester United.”

Ferguson said: “Chris has been outstanding since joining us from Fulham last year.

“He is an extremely talented young defender. He is quick, strong and reads the game well. He is a great asset to the team.”

Ferguson has brought in more youth this summer in the form of Spain Under-21 keeper David de Gea and Jones, aged 20 and 19 respectively.

It means United have a talented trio who could be around for a long time and, including the likes of Ravel Morrison and Paul Pogba, two of the more notable members of last season's FA Youth Cup-winning team, could form their own version of the famed ‘Class of 92’.

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