Jonny Evans’ old club Manchester United are enduring their worst trophy drought in 40 years but the defender could win silverware this term for a second successive season
Jonny Evans admits he feared for his chances of lifting more silverware in his career when he left Manchester United.
But the Leicester FA Cup winner has been more successful than United in the last year in Brendan Rodgers’ side. He can take a major step closer to another trophy on Thursday in Rome in the Europa Conference League semi-final second leg. Classy Northern Ireland stopper Evans, 34, came through the ranks at Old Trafford and won the Premier League three times, the League Cup twice and Club World Cup.
But he left for West Brom in 2015 for regular games before moving to the King Power Stadium in 2018. He was part of Leicester’s historic maiden FA Cup triumph last term over Chelsea at Wembley. And while old club United are enduring a fifth season without a trophy in their worst trophy drought in 40 years, Evans is seeking to upset Roma and Jose Mourinho to reach the Foxes’ first European final after last week’s 1-1 first leg draw.
Evans said: “It is a really tough thing to come by silverware. Some players never get the chance to win things. We have been very lucky and fortunate. I am so grateful that I have been able to win a few things in my career. That is something you can always look back on.
“Whenever you leave a club like Manchester United you realise your opportunities are going to be limited. You sort of think those opportunities are gone. Myself and Darren Fletcher at the time, we used to drive down from Manchester to West Brom and talk about that.
“The chances of winning cup competitions are really difficult. We knew the difference in opportunities, you probably don’t realise it at the time when you are at such a big club. But I think since Brendan has come in we have been able to challenge well in cup competitions. That has been the exciting thing that has been going on here these last couple of seasons. We are always pushing and striving in those cup competitions and trying to maintain a really good league position also.”
Evans’ return from a hamstring injury has seen the resumption of his partnership with Wesley Fofana and helped Leicester’s fortunes improve. He is now relishing a potential place in the final in Albania on May 25 against either Marseille or Feyenoord. He hopes it will be less stressful and dramatic than his build up to the FA Cup final where Evans was nursing a heel injury which eventually forced him off after just 34 minutes.
Evans reflected: “Going into that FA Cup final, I didn’t know how long I was going to last. Ten minutes into the game I was feeling good and thought I could be able to get through and then I didn’t. I was constantly up and down not knowing what was going on and going into the game completely blind.
“I do remember thinking to myself: ‘I want to be here for the players at the start of the game’. With how I had been playing and my importance to the team, I felt it could be a big factor to help settle everyone down. At the time I was feeling a bit emotional having to come off. In a way deep down I felt: ‘I have got half an hour in, I am happy’. But in another sense there was sadness that I had to come off and guilt on behalf of the team.”