‘Surreal’ - Man Utd summer signing makes honest career admission after Burnley win

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Jonny Evans said even he was surprised to get an opportunity to represent Manchester United again.

Jonny Evans has admitted he still finds his return to Manchester United ‘surreal’ and said he never thought he would get an opportunity to represent his boyhood club again.

The 35-year-old rejoined his former club over the summer, initially signing a short-term deal to cover pre-season, before agreeing a contract that runs to next June. Evans left United in 2015 and was a free agent at the end of the 2022/23 campaign after his contract at relegated Leicester City expired.

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The defender managed just 13 league appearances for the Foxes last term and missed seven months of the campaign due to a recurring calf issue. So it’s unsurprising, Evans never felt he would get a chance to represent a Champions League side once again.

“No, definitely not,” Evans said after Saturday’s win over Burnley, when asked if he ever thought he’d get back to this level of competition. “It's not a case of winding down. I think people's career trajectories end up that way and it's very difficult for a club when you're 35 years old to take a chance on you.

“I had a lot of injury problems last year as well, so for the club to do that and see the value in me, I'm very grateful to be given the opportunity.

“They wanted me to come back in and provide cover - not many people get to do that,” he continued. “I know it's going be a big challenge but hopefully it's one that I can take on. I feel like it’s one that was perfect for me at this stage of my career.

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“On one side it feels really surreal and then on the other side it just feels completely normal. It's quite difficult to sort of get my head around sometimes, but I’m loving it.”

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Evans made his first start for United on Saturday since his summer return, and put in a man-of-the-match display as the Red Devils took a vital three points at Turf Moor. It was Evans who set up Bruno Fernandes’ first-half volley, while the Northern Irishman also saw a goal ruled out after an offside Rasmus Hojlund was deemed to have interfered with James Trafford’s eyeline. But Evans also helped United claim a first clean sheet since the opening weekend, as the centre-back barely put a foot wrong at the heart of defence.

“That was great. I was really looking forward to it all day,” Evans reflected. “I got the shout yesterday [Friday] in training that I was going to be starting, so I couldn't wait for the game, really.”

“I didn't feel any nerves tonight. I actually felt a lot of excitement going into the game.I couldn't wait for it and I felt good, I felt ready.”

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