Belfast Telegraph

Jonny Evans should still be at Manchester United: Phil Bardsley

 

By Laure James

Phil Bardsley reckons his former team-mate Jonny Evans will always be a Premier League star and that he was born to play for Manchester United.

Northern Ireland ace Evans and Stoke City full-back Bardsley came through the ranks at Old Trafford before the Englishman eventually had to leave to find first-team football.

Bardsley, who was in Belfast last week studying toward his UEFA B Licence, played only a handful of games in the famous red shirt before proving his worth in the Premier League with Sunderland and Stoke, while Evans enjoyed many more great moments with the Red Devils.

Evans, 29, won major honours, including three Premier League titles, but was shown the door by Louis van Gaal.

Since then he has rebuilt his career at West Bromwich Albion, while seemingly being linked with Arsenal in every transfer window.

"I have had the privilege of playing with Jonny and watching his development over the years,' said Scotland international Bardsley.

"I don't think there was any doubt that he would become a top player and it's no surprise he was linked to top clubs in the last couple of windows.

"He is a fantastic player and more than that, he is a genuinely good lad. He's what I think is a proper Belfast boy, so charismatic, well-spoken, well-educated and an all-round good fella.

"I was very surprised he was allowed to go, to be honest. He was made to play for Manchester United in my view, and I say that as a fan and a player. He was excellent on the ball, great in the air, a strong defender.

"I felt he had years ahead of him in the team but I think Jonny made the decision to find regular, football and wanted to move on. It's clear he's reaping the rewards."

Bardsley left United nine years ago, yet he still keeps a close eye on his former employers.

Winning the Community Shield, EFL Cup and Europa League and qualifying for next season's Champions League would be seen as major success elsewhere but for United, failure to challenge for the title is still far from where they want to be. But Bardsley added: "I think we're quite close to seeing a 'Mourinho' team, I think it's only a matter of time until they click into gear."

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