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|Birthday||May 15, 1981|
Since joining Manchester United from Monaco in 2006, Evra has established himsellf as one of the world’s best left-backs, winning a host of trophies and being named in the Premier League Team of the Year in three of the past four seasons.
Evra’s inconsistent early performances at United – including a very shaky debut against Manchester City – had many wondering if he was a poor signing, but in 2006-07 he proved why Sir Alex Ferguson forked out around £5 million for him as he ousted Gabriel Heinze as first-choice left-back, impressing with his electric pace and marauding forward runs, two attributes that still endear him to the United faithful.
He began his career with Paris St Germain and had spells with Marsala and Monza before signing for Nice in 2000, where he spent two years before earning a move to AS Monaco. Evra started out as a centre-forward as a youth, before moving out to the left wing. In an inspired switch, Monaco boss Didier Deschamps moved him to left-back in 2003 at Monaco – a position where he really began to flourish – and he was a prominent member of the Monaco side that reached the Champions League final in 2004,
Evra made his France debut while at Monaco but Bixente Lizarazu and then Eric Abidal were ahead of him in Les Bleus’ pecking order and starting opportunities were a rare commodity. Having proved himself at United, France coach Raymond Domenech eventually took notice, though Evra only established himself as a regular starter during the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign. Come the start of the tournament, Evra was named France captain ahead of Thierry Henry but he was at the centre of the scandalous campaign in South Africa which included leading a players’ strike.
Evra played an integral part of a hugely successful United side that won three back to back titles and picked up the Champions League trophy in 2008, something few would have predicted after such an undistinguished start to life at Old Trafford. He has continued to thrive under Ferguson, and signed a new four-year contract with United in 2008.
Strengths: As a former forward, Evra offers a genuine attacking outlet down the left and has the delivery to make the most of some dangerous positions higher up the pitch. His pace is also a fantastic asset and he is strong in the air for one so small.
Weaknesses: The French international has been known to get caught out of position. Various altercations with team-mates and a notorious incident with a Chelsea steward have also led some to question his attitude.
Career high: Being part of the victorious 2008 Champions League winning team was an obvious high, while captaining United as they beat Aston Villa 2-1 in last season’s Carling Cup final.
Career low: His part in the players’ protest during theWorld Cup and the subsequent fallout of France’s elimination at the group stage.
Style: Pacy, athletic, energetic, determined; Evra is the classic example of a modern full-back.
Quotes: “Evra had a tough start to his United career and everyone remembers his debut against City. But the following season you could see him getting better and better all the time and he’s developed into one of the best in the business.” Former United full-back Denis Irwin admires Evra’s growth as an Old Trafford favourite.
Trivia: The defender nearly quit football after getting lost in Milan as a youngster whilst trying to get to a training camp third-division side Marsala. Evra eventually found the way with the help of a Senegalese stranger and a group of nuns.