Patrice Evra Proving There's Life Left in His Manchester United Career

Rob DawsonManchester United CorrespondentFebruary 22, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19:  Patrice Evra of Manchester United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on January 19, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Manchester United showed there is still life in their challenge for a top-four finish with a win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

And they were inspired by Patrice Evra, who showed there is also life left in him, too.

After Nemanja Vidic stated his intention to leave Old Trafford in the summer and Wayne Rooney decided he wants to stay, Evra remains in a group of players whose futures are still up in the air.

It's possible that both Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs will no longer be on the playing staff by the time next season kicks-off in August.

And Evra, out of contract in the summer, could depart, too.

But against Crystal Palace, the French full-back showed why David Moyes should perhaps think twice before letting him walk out the door.

In a team that boasted Rooney, Robin van Persie, Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj, Evra was United's biggest attacking threat.

Bursting into the penalty area in the second-half, he was caught by Marouane Chamakh to win a penalty which Van Persie converted.

Moments later he was flying forward again, cutting the ball back for Rooney to mark his new deal with an exquisite finish.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  (L-R) Adnan Januzaj, Juan Mata and Patrice Evra of Manchester United warm up before the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on February 12, 2014 in London, England.  (
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Off the pitch, Evra has endured a difficult season.

He has watched a new manager come in and immediately make moves to sign a replacement.

But if he's felt unsettled, he hasn't shown it in his performances.

He's not the same player he was three or four years ago when he was rightly regarded as one of the best full-backs in the world.

He's occasionally caught out defensively—he was at fault in the build-up to Yohan Cabaye's goal in the defeat to Newcastle in December—but he's remained one of United's key attacking weapons.

To judge what it is he offers, you only needed to glance at United's other flank against Crystal Palace.

Chris Smalling is a talented youngster but while Evra was giving an attacking full-back's master-class on the left, Smalling struggled to create anything on the other side.

It's true that Smalling is a more natural centre-half, but Evra showed how dangerous full-backs can be when they are confident enough to get forward and get beyond the midfield.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19:  Patrice Evra of Manchester United is challenged by Oscar of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on January 19, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike He
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Should he decide to leave in the summer he will have no shortage of offers, particularly from France.

But his display at Selhurst Park was a timely reminder that, even at 32, he's not ready for the scrap heap just yet.

His pass for Rooney's goal was his seventh assist of the season, the second highest of any United player this season behind the England striker—more than Januzaj, Van Persie, Mata, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia.

He's making a case to make Moyes' summer shopping list a little shorter.