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United's 'inspirational' leader should NOT be discarded yet

France left-back celebrates eight years at Old Trafford but still has plenty to offer the David Moyes regime.

Patrice Evra joined Manchester United eight years ago today in a £5.5m deal from Monaco, and while David Moyes has been eyeing up replacements for him since his arrival, there is no doubt that he has proven incredible value for money.

The left-back has been somewhat undervalued in recent years, but his pace and consistency have proven crucial to United’s success during his time at the club.

The 32-year-old has claimed 15 trophies during his spell at Stretford, including five Premier League titles, and made it into the PFA Premier League team of the year on three occasions.

In the last couple of seasons he has been exposed defensively on a few occasions, but he remains an asset to the club and not just for his on-pitch actions.

The club’s vice-captain is notoriously one of the strongest characters in the dressing room at Old Trafford and David Moyes recently hailed him as “one of the finest leaders around the dressing room I have ever seen”.

According to the Daily Mail, Moyes recently said: “He speaks well in everything he does and the way he speaks about the club is great.

“He is inspirational behind the scenes and reminds all the boys what their jobs and duties are.

“He knows we have to have a strong Manchester United. He demands. He doesn't think winning one game is it. He is saying no, we need to win all the games.

“'He is great for me and obviously he has been great for the team because he has been a really top player for a long time now.”

Yet the former Everton manager has clearly been looking to replace the France star, who is out of contract in the summer.

This has irked some of Evra’s United team-mates, according to the Guardian, and with good reason.

While Evra may not be the future for United he remains a valuable squad member and Moyes would do well to keep him around for a couple of years yet.

During his eight years in Manchester he has made a phenomenal 361 appearances and boasts a near-perfect fitness record.

For the first one and a half seasons of his United career he competed with Gabriel Heinze, who had won the club’s player of the year award in 2005, but since the Argentine left he has held down the left-back position for six and a half years.

Since 2007-08 he has made at least 40 appearances in every campaign and during the past 18 months has added a goal-scoring threat to his game - netting six times as opposed to just three during his first seven campaigns.

The former Monaco man, who reached the 2004 Champions League final with the principality club, has been at the heart of several controversies with his national side, including being central to the 2010 World Cup fiasco where the players refused to train.

But for United his behaviour has been nothing but exemplary and his forward passing ability is one of the best for a full-back in the Premier League.

Born in Dakar, Senegal, Evra took a circuitous route to the top after starting off with Italian lower league sides S.C Marsala in Sicily - where people would ask to have a picture taken with him as they had never seen a black person before - and A.C Monza.

He then earned promotion to Ligue 1 with French side Nice before making the move to Monaco.

At Old Trafford he has experienced plenty of highs, but if his life experience is anything to go by, he knows how to cope with the lows.

One of 25 children, Evra certainly knows about dealing with adversity and is just the kind of character Moyes needs in the dressing room during this transitional period.

United should bring in another left-back as they look to the future, but discarding Evra altogether may come back to haunt Moyes.

He has been a loyal servant to the club during these eight years and could be a guiding force for the next generation.

image: © nasmac

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