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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Evans rated by Rio

Rio Ferdinand has tipped fellow United centre-back Jonny Evans as a future international captain.

Evans' appearances for Northern Ireland are already in double figures, even though he's played just seven times for the Reds at senior level - including Tuesday's Carling Cup win over Queens Park Rangers.

However, his club statistics are bolstered by his time on loan at Sunderland, whose manager Roy Keane attempted to lure Evans to the north east on a permanent deal in the summer. The reason it didn't happen was Sir Alex Ferguson's determination not to lose a player whose career he believes is “absolutely guaranteed”.

Now Ferdinand, a veteran of almost 300 United appearances, has echoed his manager’s sentiments.

“Jonny is a top, top player,” said Rio. “A few managers wanted to buy him in the summer, so that tells you what a good prospect he is.

“At Sunderland last season he was probably one of their better players. He’s good with both feet, he’s playing for Northern Ireland and he’ll probably be their captain in the near future.

“You can see why the manager fought so hard to keep him, and to make sure Jonny realises his future is here at Old Trafford. He’ll have a major part to play in the coming years.”

A decade ago, Rio was a promising defender coming through the ranks at West Ham United. He knows all too well the frustrations young players can face when breaking into the first team.

“You’re impatient and you just want to play football,” he said.

“When I was a kid I was behind the likes of Slaven Bilic, Alvin Martin and Marc Rieper, but I wanted to play every game. Jonny will be thinking the same.

“No matter who’s in front of you, no matter how good they are, you just want to play football.

“The manager will just make sure Jonny trains hard and takes the best bits from all the players he works with and brings it to his own game.

“He’s looked assured each time he’s been called upon this season and I’m sure that will continue.”

Scholes makes City return bid

Paul Scholes could make a sensational return in the Manchester derby. The midfield ace has surprised everyone with his fast recovery from the knee ligament injury he picked up last month. Yesterday, he was on the training ground and is expected to resume full training in 10 days, leaving him with a week to prepare for the away clash with City on November 30. A United insider said: “Paul was spraying 40 yard passes around as if he had never been away. You would not believe he suffered an injury just six weeks ago. He could play in the derby — it’s just a question of what the boss wants to do.”
Staff writer, The Sun