Jonny Evans is on top of the world.
The 24-year-old centre-back has become a fixture on Manchester United's defensive back line, he's easily the most improved player for the Red Devils and according to Goal.com he's been offered a contract package that is in the ballpark of "around £65,000-a-week".
To that I ask, "Is that all, Ferguson?!"
The lad may only have a few seasons of professional experience under his belt, but that's nowhere near the appropriate compensation for a defender who has helped as much as anyone else in goalkeeper David de Gea's transformation from La Liga hopeful to Premier League standout. He's been as calm and poised under fire as anyone else at Old Trafford, making consistent appearances in the club's Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup campaigns.
Oh, speaking of appearances, the best player in Northern Ireland has had the endurance to make 22 league appearances so far this season—fourth-best on the Red Devils behind the likes of Wayne Rooney, Nani and Patrice Evra.
All those guys are making first-tier money. The salary package Goal.com is reporting of "around £65,000-a-week" is small potatoes, comparatively, putting him just above players of far less importance such as Tom Cleverley and Chris Smalling.
He's become the heart of United's defense as he demonstrates an awareness of the game that goes beyond his handful of years at Old Trafford and an athleticism to support the midfield when he can, but also stay put in front of De Gea when need be.
In a six-match win streak dating back to February 11, Evans has been necessary at centre-back for the Red Devils. Against opponents Liverpool, Norwich City, Tottenham, WBA, Wolves and Fulham, opponents scored a measly three goals.
Half a goal per game against Manchester United? The Red Devils will win that every time!
And why do you think De Gea has only faced 105 shots—tied for fourth-least in the league? Because of the work of Evans and his partner Rio Ferdinand.
His most recent display against Fulham on Monday night was just the icing on the cake of a beautiful season thus far. Easily the best player for United, Evans was solid defensively, setting up Rooney's opener with a beautiful cutback pass.
In American football, we describe defensive backs as able to "erase half the field" for the quarterback, meaning the defender is athletic and intelligent enough to put himself in a position to make it so that his half of the field would be very, very dangerous for the opposing quarterback to throw into. In effect, the defender is able to "erase half the field."
That's what Evans has done so brilliantly this season. He's quick enough to be able own a larger chunk of the field than most other defenders, and strong enough to not be run over by opposing midfielders. He's excellent in freeing up teammates to open up the zones they're assigned to cover and therefore make everyone else more effective in defending the goal.
Jonathan Evans a gift, Fergie. Is £65,000 a week really all you can do for the best young centre-back in the game?
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