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Flanagan: incredible Evans could play for German team

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Praise: Burton and Northern Ireland’s Tom Flanagan. Photo: William Cherry/Presseye

Praise: Burton and Northern Ireland’s Tom Flanagan. Photo: William Cherry/Presseye

©William Cherry / Presseye

Praise: Burton and Northern Ireland’s Tom Flanagan. Photo: William Cherry/Presseye

Tom Flanagan has paid Jonny Evans the ultimate compliment by insisting the in-demand defender would not look out of place in the Germany team.

Burton centre-half Flanagan, with Gareth McAuley and Craig Cathcart ruled out through injury, is hopeful of making his Northern Ireland competitive debut alongside Evans in San Marino tomorrow night.

The West Brom captain, who is being chased by Manchester City, Arsenal and Leicester City ahead of tonight's transfer deadline, is viewed as a role model to 25-year-old Flanagan, who enjoyed playing alongside former Manchester United defender Evans against New Zealand earlier this summer in a Windsor Park friendly.

Flanagan believes Evans is incredibly composed on the pitch, understands why a host of top clubs are in for him and remembers sitting in the dug-out in Hannover last October as Northern Ireland took on the world champions and thinking the 29-year-old was good enough to fit into their team.

"The list of what I can learn from Jonny is ridiculously long," says the Hammersmith man who qualifies for Northern Ireland through his Omagh-born parents.

"It's not passing the ball, or heading the ball or technique or anything like that, it's more his cool, calm collectedness. The way he carries himself and his discipline too.

"That's a big part of international football that's different to league football, and his mannerisms during a game of football are very mature and I think that's where I need to get to.

"My highlight of everything is his composure. People ask me what Jonny is like and I just say he's the most relaxed man I've ever played football with.

"I remember when looking back on this campaign when I was on the bench against Germany and he could quite easily have gotten into their team.

"Jonny's current situation and mine are very far apart but he's not worried about it.

"He's coming off the back of an injury but he's looking after himself. He's such a good professional on and off the pitch and I can't speak highly enough of him."

Belfast Telegraph