Martin O’Neill: Sir Alex Ferguson surprised by Jonny Evans’ sale

Manchester United icon Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed his surprise about Jonny Evans being allowed to leave the club a couple of years ago. Former manager Louis van Gaal took the decision to sell the defender for £8 million to West Bromwich Albion in the summer of 2015. The Northern Ireland international came through the ranks at United and went on to make close to 200 appearances for the club in all competitions. He spent eight years at Old Trafford as a professional, but there were always the sceptics about his quality to be able to wear the red of United.

Ferguson was always adamant about Jonny Evans and his quality. However, he has not extensively voiced his opinion about the club’s transfer policy since his exit in 2013. Surprisingly, the former United boss appears to have said to Martin O’Neill that it was a mistake to sell Evans.

“In September after last year’s Euros, there was a conference in France for the coaches and Sir Alex was there talking about it and he openly said to me that he could not believe Van Gaal had sold Jonny from United,” Martin O’Neill told The Belfast Telegraph.

“Because having seen him come through, he felt Jonny would spend his whole career at United or certainly to the latter stages of his career.”

Jose Mourinho claimed last season that he would not have sold some players as Louis van Gaal did during his reign. While it is not believed that Jonny Evans is one among them, Ferguson thinks that the Northern Irishman could not establish a long-term career at United due to the lack of a clear succession plan.

Managerial changes coupled with frequent injuries to the likes of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand meant that Evans did not have a comfortable backing in the starting line-up. As a result, he was always under pressure to perform week in and week out, despite being young.

The progress made by Evans in the last two years has been brilliant, and West Brom are reportedly ready to offer him a new contract worth around £100,000 per week. Surprisingly, Evans is not the only United defender who has done well after leaving the club. The likes of Ryan Shawcross – and most recently Michael Keane – are great examples of the same. While Keane was closer towards a return to Old Trafford, one can be sure that Evans is not coming back anytime soon. In fact, Evans has been linked with a move to 2015-16 Premier League champions Leicester City.

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