Siobhán Dockerty is a die hard Red and fully paid up member of the Faithful, attending all of United home matches as a season ticket holder. A very keen writer, Siobhan has written pieces for various publications before. She now brings her talent to The Faithful. Her first piece is on United’s three sets of brothers on our books:
Jonny and Corry Evans
Although he made his first team debut in 2007, 23 year old Jonny Evans kick-started his career at Manchester United properly in the 2008/09 season, when he was regularly called upon at centre-back. He made a positive impact on the squad, and has continued this ever since by stepping in whenever Ferdinand has been injured or rested. Corry (20) can play at centre-back, but has also occasionally played as a midfielder. He is yet to make his first team debut, but has been handed the number 31 shirt by the club. Even though he hasn’t broken into the Manchester United first team yet, he was named as reserves player of the year 2008/9. As a key member of Solskjaer’s team in that season, he made a significant contribution to their success, and has been improving ever since.
I make no secret of the fact that I am a massive fan of Jonny Evans (fan girl alert) and even though he hasn’t recently played to the best of his ability, I believe that he is still young enough to grow into the player that Sir Alex has always envisioned. We’ve seen this sort of thing happen before with other players and people seem to forget that form is temporary, but class is permanent, and with a bit of patience and determination Jonny could be outstanding once again. This does depend largely, however, on how quickly he can find his old form – he was consistently good when he replaced Vidic or Ferdinand in previous seasons, but it seems that he is struggling to find that form again this season. These days, the fans seem to favour Smalling when Rio or Vidic are missing, which is becoming a big problem for Jonny, who is no longer gaining a lot of game time.
Corry Evans is currently on loan at Hull City, gaining valuable first team experience. He scored his first goal for the club just six minutes into his debut, and has continued to establish himself as a valuable member of the squad. I have watched Corry play for the both the reserves and Hull, and he constantly impresses me – his decision making is excellent, and for such a young player, he is amazingly levelheaded. Despite the fact that he is still relatively inexperienced, Corry’s progress on loan certainly suggests that he has what it takes to make it at Old Trafford once his loan spell is over if he can continue his good run of form, and hopefully Jonny will match his efforts – two Evans’ at centre-back could be the future.
Fabio and Rafael Da Silva
Alex Ferguson signed 20 year old Fabio and Rafael Da Silva from Brazilian club Fluminense in February 2007, but the twins were unable to play any football for Manchester United until they turned 18 the following year. Rafael, who plays at right-back, made his first team debut in August 2008, but Fabio had to wait until January 2009. Fabio’s debut in that game set the tone for the rest of his career at the club – he was substituted at 53 minutes due to an injury. As a result of the several injuries that he has gained, and also due to the fact that the brilliant Patrice Evra is his main competition for a first team place, Fabio has not broken into the first team as successfully as Rafael. He has however performed brilliantly for the reserves, and on the occasions when he is needed to replace Evra, he is reliable and consistently plays to a promising standard. I have no doubt that once he gains more first team experience, Fabio will become one of our key players.
Twin brother Rafael is currently in amazing form, and for me he is the player of the season so far, alongside Berbatov and Vidic. He has been invaluable to the first team right from the start, and it is noticeable how far the young player has progressed. At 20 years of age, he still makes rash decisions and occasionally loses his temper, but there is no doubt that he is one to watch. Fast paced and dynamic, Rafael has also shown that he can stand his ground (against Carlos Tevez in particular) and like many other United fans I am always pleased to see his name in the starting line up. It is safe to say that both Fabio and Rafael are exciting prospects, and I would not be surprised if we see Fabio at left-back and Rafael at right-back in many starting line ups of the future.
Wes and Reece Brown
Alex Ferguson once stated that Wes Brown is “without question the best natural defender this club has had for years”, and he was of paramount importance to Manchester United’s defence in the 2005/06 season as both a full back and centre half. His bad luck with injuries means that Wes has only made 357 appearances during his long career at the club, and at 31 years of age his days are arguably numbered, particularly where regular first team appearances are concerned. These days, Vidic is more likely to partner Ferdinand in defence (it could be argued that his style compliments Rio’s better than Brown’s does) but, when called upon, Wes’ experience and solidity in defence are an asset to the team. During the 2009/10 season when both Vidic and Ferdinand were injured, Wes partnered Jonny Evans in defence, and the pair were consistently solid and produced some brilliant performances. This season, when I occasionally see Brown’s name in the starting eleven, he never raises any doubts – I still think that his experience is vital to our defence.
Reece, Wes’ younger brother, is only 19 years old but has produced some outstanding performances for the reserves so far this season. Like Wes, he also plays in defence, and although he is yet to be handed a first team shirt he continues to impress followers of our reserves team. This has resulted in a call-up for England’s under 21 squad, where Reece has the chance to prove that he can be just as reliable in defence as his older brother. During a month long loan spell at Bradford City, where he made 3 appearances, his resilient performances and flashes of brilliance suggest that a call up to Manchester United’s first team must be imminent, although there is already enough competition for first team places, so a further loan spell may also prove effective. I have only seen Reece play for the reserves, but within that squad he stands out immensely, and seems to have a natural talent just like his older brother. Reece is definitely one to watch for the future, and hopefully he will become an important player for Manchester United in years to come.
For these three sets of brothers, especially the younger siblings – the future for Manchester United certainly looks bright and full of talent.