Jonny Evans’ happy and proud moments when he officially owned all the titles with Man United

​The “hard work and dedication” of Jonny Evans has been praised by his former youth coach, as the Manchester United and Northern Ireland star won a second FA Cup winner’s medal aged 36.

​Evans came on as a substitute at Wembley on Saturday to shore up United’s defence as they held on for an impressive 2-1 win over Man City – preventing their Manchester rivals from becoming the first English team to win back-to-back league and cup doubles.

The central defender, who has now won every major honour with United, was drafted back into the Red Devils’ set-up on a one-year contract in September 2023, having spent the previous five seasons at Leicester.

Jeff Montgomery, who coached Jonny Evans at Greenisland Boys in their early teens, said the footbaling prodigy was always destined for great things, but had “superb” parents who helped keep him grounded and humble.

Manchester United's Jonny Evans celebrates with the FA Cup trophy after the 2024 Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley. Nick Potts - PA Wire
Manchester United’s Jonny Evans celebrates with the FA Cup trophy after the 2024 Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley. Nick Potts – PA Wire

“When you think back to his early days at Greenisland, if you had offered Jonny ten appearances for Manchester United and ten caps at international level he probably would have bitten your arm off, and he has been an absolutely fantastic role model for any young footballer starting off,” he said.

“He was a very grounded young lad with parents (Jackie and Dawn) who are superb people. We all grew up in Rathcoole together, and they made sure Jonny, and brother Corry too, had their feet on the ground.

“So his success hasn’t surprised me – that he went on to be so good. It is remarkable, and he has had an absolutely fantastic career.

“He deserves all the plaudits for his hard work and dedication.”

Jonny Evans has been capped 106 times for Northern Ireland and continues to be a valuable asset to manager Michael O’Neill.

“From the international point of view, I think it is important that he hangs around for a while,” Mr Montgomery said.

“He just adds that bit of experience in the changing room, and also on the pitch to the players around him.

“I’m sure there is another campaign in him. Some of the games he plays with carpet slippers on – he just strolls through because of his reading of the game.

“People say that at his age he’s lost a bit, but with his experience he always has himself in the right place, and Michael O’Neill has certainly benefited from having Jonny in his squad.”

The return to Man United and the FA Cup success has come as a bit of a surprise to Evans, who was a free agent last summer after being relegated to the Championship with Leicester.

He has now won the Champions League, three Premier League titles, the Fifa Club World Cup, Carabao Cup and Community Shield with the club he initially joined as a teenager.

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“I think maybe last pre-season, I didn’t know where it was going to be at, but that’s my 30th appearance this season, so I can’t complain,” he said after the victory on Saturday.

“Obviously, the league position wasn’t great, but to be able to win the FA Cup is incredible… I think the further on your career you get, you realise you cherish it a lot more”.

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