The former Red Devils wing back presented the August Player of the Month award to Daniel James last week.
United legend Patrice Evra has returned to the club of his dreams and has been quite busy over the past week appearing at several events and fixtures of the club.
He was present at the AON Training Complex on Thursday to present Daniel James with the August Player of the Month award and was then spotted at Leigh Sports Village twice over the course of four days- to catch Neil Woods’ U-23 United side beat Fulham and then to witness United women’s clash against Arsenal.
When asked about what prompted his return to United, Evra was candid and revealed that the real reason he returned was that he wanted to complete his coaching education. “I’m here normally to do my coaching badges but I’ve been everywhere. I’ve been around and, you know, what a great feeling to come back home. I love this place and, to see the same people, from the chef to the cleaner, is just amazing, it really is. I’ve been here five days and will go back on Saturday and it is just a pleasure. You are at home and I feel blessed, very blessed.”
“I’ve been actually doing my coaching badges with the Under-18s and working with Neil [Ryan] and Colin [Little] and all the staff, but I’ve been everywhere. I want to say to my wife: ‘Manchester United will be my wife for two weeks’. So that’s why I’ve been everywhere. I’ve been with the Under-16s and took charge of a training session, with the Under-18s, Under-23s, first team and the women’s game last night.”
“So I’ve been everywhere. I love this club. I’ve got passion for this club and that’s why, when I get a chance to speak with anyone, I want to make sure when I leave this place, I will come back definitely, I want them to understand the message and what it represents. The value to play for Manchester United, to be humble and respectful but actually dying on the pitch. It doesn’t matter the age or [if it’s] women’s football, it’s having the same message with everyone.”
“I think we need to go back to the top, you know, for the future and the new generation, it’s not only about the first team. It’s why I’m really open to do everything here, to do my coaching badges but actually spend time with everyone because United is like my family.”
At the U-23 game, Evra was found at his animating best when he celebrated a late winner against Fulham by punching the air. Speaking about his mentality and desire, he said, “You can’t lose that. It’s real, not fake, when you love a club, no matter which team or category it is playing. You’ve got that fire inside so, when we lose, I’m going mad. This is like I can’t control it, my love. This is Manchester United’s DNA.”
He did not shy away from discussing matters about the first team and revealed that he was extremely happy when he found out that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had got the job as head coach. Evra believes that Ole has the Manchester United DNA and understands the club really well and more importantly, the gravity of his job. “I was really happy. You know why? Because I always say, to coach United, you need to understand the club and respect the value of the club. I don’t want to criticise any manager who was here before Ole but I just feel like, when I came into the dressing room, you see people are smiling and more positive. We are aware of our weaknesses but we are working hard. It is easy outside to criticise. When you’re inside and see things, I think the future will be bright. I’m really confident.”
One of Manchester United’s greatest wing back
“I love Ole. I have a little story about Ole. When we were subs in one game, I started to talk to Ole and he said: ‘Patrice, I’m focused on watching the game’. It’s a good message for when people are sub – sometimes you are going to make a difference but you need to watch the game. Ole was always watching the game so, when he was going to come on, he would destroy the centre-back because he knows every weakness. He is so humble. I was so pleased and that’s why I’m behind him until the end. I think we all need to help him – we should never let Ole down. Until the end, I will be behind him.“
Patrice also let in on his experience with Ole as a player, “He gave me my first goal in the Champions League. I remember I came in and was right-back and he passed me the ball to give me an assist for my first goal in the Champions League. It was just great. Ole is so clever. He is the one to tell me, when I go against the goalkeeper, he always liked to nutmeg him and stuff like that. He’s so clever and so professional.”
“I’ve got that story that, when I received a knock, I was on the massage table and the doc said: ‘Patrice, it’s better you don’t train as we play tomorrow. We don’t want you to receive a knock’. It was a Friday and Paul Scholes was limping but wearing his boots and going outside. After that, Ryan Giggs was stretching his back, then Gary Neville. I was talking to myself – it’s impossible, it’s like these ‘dinosaurs’ [laughs] are going outside to train and me staying like a diva. I put on my boots and got off the bed. The doc said: ‘Patrice, no you can’t train’ but I said I’m going to train. I got up and I trained and didn’t receive any knocks and played on the Saturday. That’s why I tell you examples like this.“