Manchester United: David Moyes Must Make Patrice Evra Feel Loved Again

Rob DawsonManchester United CorrespondentSeptember 5, 2013

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01:  Patrice Evra of Manchester United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on September 01, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It was a disappointing transfer window for David Moyes and Manchester United.

After missing out on his first-choice target—Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas—he at least salvaged something with the signing of Marouane Fellaini from Everton just minutes before the deadline.

For Patrice Evra, however, there has been little to smile about this summer.

A change of manager is always a stressful time for any player.

But established in the first-team and finding his best form again after recent struggles, Evra had reason to be optimistic when Moyes replaced Sir Alex Ferguson.

The reality has been different.

Evra has started every Premier League game this season. In fact, he's yet to miss a minute. But that might not have been the case had Moyes got his way.

First, there was a series of bids for Leighton Baines. When those failed, there was a last-minute dash to Real Madrid to loan Fabio Coentrao that also fell through.

It means Evra will likely line up against Crystal Palace in United's next game. But he'll do it knowing that his manager doesn't have complete faith in him.

If he did, why try so hard to sign two other left-backs?

As attacking full-backs go, Evra is still one of the best in the world. His pace might be fading slightly and he's starting to look more vulnerable against quick, tricky wingers. And at 32 years old, he can't go on for much longer.

But the desperation with which Moyes pursued an alternative hints that he sees the position as a real weakness. It's difficult for Evra to see it as anything other than a snub.

It's not just on the pitch where Evra plays an important role. He's a senior member of the dressing room, stepping in as captain when Nemanja Vidic was injured. He's well liked among the other players and often acts as spokesman to the press, sometimes after difficult defeats.

With Baines still at Everton and Coentrao at Real Madrid, Evra was been given a stay of execution. He'll remain United's first-choice left-back until at least January.

When the Frenchman returns from international duty next week, it'll be Moyes' job to get him back onside.

Evra isn't the type to sulk, but footballers need to feel valued if you're going to get the best out of the them. But after flirting with Baines and Coentrao, Moyes has to make him feel loved again.