The pros and cons of bringing Patrice Evra back to Manchester United

Patrice Evra appeared on Monday Night Football this week, offering his thoughts on Manchester United’s current fortunes and his chances of returning to the club on a full-time basis.

His passion for the club was clear for all to see and he spoke more saliently than he has during his brief punditry spells on ITV during major international tournaments.

As transcribed by The Metro, he confirmed he is in talks with the club over a return and we’ve weighed up the pros and cons of bringing him back.

What could Evra offer?

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Manchester United fans are longing to a return to the standards, success and exciting football of days gone by.


Evra was a key part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s final great United squad, offering determination and pace from left back and is seen as someone who could help bring the good times back.

He played alongside both Michael Carrick and Solskjaer at Old Trafford and stated his desire to ‘get his hands dirty’ to help his club get back to the top of world football.

There is no questioning his strength of feeling towards the club and he may be able to command respect among the current squad as a player with a recent history of Old Trafford success.

There are considerable downsides

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But United have had recently-retired former players on the coaching staff in every regime since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

Phil Neville came along with David Moyes, while Ryan Giggs survived the Scot’s failed reign to become Louis van Gaal’s assistant manager. Carrick was unable to help Mourinho arrest the slump.

There is a paradox bordering on a blind spot when it comes to the standards United fans demand of their club and former faces being brought back.

United need world-class specialists in every position to get back where they want to be and that includes on the coaching staff. Evra is a total novice and is not fit for purpose if United are serious about their ambitions and not in the business of making PR appointments to get supporters back onside.

Of course Evra wants to come back to United. Of course he loves the club but he is also in talks over a plum job for which he is not qualified – he must be rubbing his hands together.

United have to move away from their past; longing for the days of Ferguson, bogged down by the weight of history and labouring under the arrogant misconception that a brains trust of people who knew how things used to be at Old Trafford can bring the good times back.

They have to look forward, appointing experienced, best-in-class staff across the board. Evra may feel deeply for the club and want to help, but should not fit with that vision.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.