Belfast Telegraph

Corry’s star rising at Manchester United

Changing schools is a big enough upheaval for any 13-year-old. When that also involves moving lock, stock and barrel to a different country it brings even more concerns.

Fortunately for Corry Evans he had his family around him to help him through and when he makes the step up into Manchester United’s first-team then having big brother around to look after him will ease any worries or nerves.

The 19-year-old is being readied for his bow at Old Trafford and there is every chance it will come this evening when Sir Alex Ferguson selects his side to face Tottenham Hotspur in the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup.

It’s a moment that the younger Evans sibling has been dreaming of for six years since first moving to Manchester when elder brother Jonny was asked to sign for the club.

“I’d just finished my first year in high school at the time when we moved,” said Corry.

“It was hard when we first moved. Having to move across to a different school and a new school was my biggest concern.

“I didn’t know anyone and I thought I’d be the only Northern Irish one in a school full of English people, so that was my main worry. In the football side of things the week my family moved over I was going on trial at Manchester United to a training camp.

“What they do is bring young players from all over the UK to come and train for a couple of weeks to have a look at them.

“Luckily enough my family moved over and I did well in the trial and they asked me to come back for another one.

“I impressed again and they asked me to sign academy forms when I was under-14 which took me to under-16. I got offered a scholarship and then went on to sign pro. I wouldn’t have been able to sign anything at all, at United or for any other club, if I’d still been in Northern Ireland. That’s the rules. I’d have had to wait until I was 16.”

Encouraging words from father Jackie — who’d lost his job in Shorts not long before being asked to move to Manchester so that United could sign his two sons — helped Corry realise that his chances of making a career either at Old Trafford or elsewhere were going to be boosted by the move.

“My dad had confidence in my ability, but he said that either way it was going to be good for my football and that I would improve because I would get better coaching and that would happen at any academy,” said Corry. “I would be playing more times a week and at a better standard. He tried to reassure me and looking back it has helped me a lot being at United from such an early age instead of only moving at 16.”

There have been recent signs of the progress that Evans is making towards emulating his brother.

As well as captaining United’s reserve side he has made the travelling squad with the first-team and was named on the bench for their last Carling Cup outing.

“Things aren’t going too bad at United. I’ve been involved in a couple of squads and was on the bench against Barnsley in the Carling Cup, so I’m doing quite well and going in the right direction,” he explained.

“I was in Moscow for the Champions League match as well. “We’d a 21 man squad, so there was three of us left in the stand, but it was a great experience, my first taste of European football and training on the pitch the night before and being in the first-team changing room was all good for me.”

It’s not as if Corry needed to go far to ask for advice when it came to first being brought on-board with the first-team. Jonny played more than 30 times last season — including the Carling Cup final win over Chelsea — and with his 22nd birthday approaching early in the New Year, a long and successful career lies in front of him.

And with Corry (below) tipped to follow, the opportunity is there for the Evans brothers to match the achievements of the Neville brothers — Gary and Phil — who won a host of medals while both wearing the famous red shirt.

“There’s not a lot of talk about Jonny and myself coming through to play together at the club,” revealed Corry. “There are a few brothers at United, Wes Brown and his younger brother Rhys, Rafael and Fabio Da Silva and a couple at the younger age group, so there’s a few siblings at the club.

“With a manager like Sir Alex Ferguson and a club like Manchester United you know that down the years they have always given young players a chance.

“That’s what they try to focus on, the main nucleus of the team being home grown and coming through the academy. That’s what I hope will happen for me.”

Belfast Telegraph


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