Patrice Evra is a defender for France and Manchester United in the English Premier League. Though he used to play as a striker, Patrice has made his name as an attacking left-back with some fantastic trickery on the ball. He was voted in the PFA Team of the Year and is now a fixture in the Manchester United first-team. For Les Blues, Evra is in fierce competition with Eric Abidal for the first-team spot, but has proven himself classy enough to win over 20 caps.
Patrice Evra was born on 15th May 1981 in Dakar, Senegal – where his father was working as a diplomat. At the age of 6, Patrice moved to Paris, and worked hard at his football. As one of 26 siblings, Evra always had someone to play football with, and impressed enough to win a youth contract with Paris Saint Germain, though he was overlooked for a full contract.
Patrice started his career with Italian minnows Marsala, who were willing to take a gamble on him. He moved to Sicily, and somehow managed to get lost on the island on his first day there – though thankfully some kind locals helped him find the club. At Marsala, Evra was played as a striker, with his pace and trickery helping him to net 5 goals in 25 appearances. He had done enough to win a move to Monza, in the Italian second division, though he was under-used here, and moved on to OGC Nice in the French second division.
It was at Nice that Patrice started to make an impression, though not as a striker. His manager, Salvioni, played him at left-back when they were short of players and Patrice excelled – even winning a place in the Ligue 2’s Team of the Year at left-back!
Because of the close links between the two clubs, Patrice transferred from Nice to Monaco in June 2002, allowing his old club to make some much-needed money. Manager Didier Deschamps was also an admirer of this talented young Frenchman, so Evra was thrown straight into the first-team, helping Monaco to finish as runners-up in the league and also reach the Champions League final – though Jose Mourinho’s Porto walked off with the winner’s medals.
With Monaco struggling in the league having sold off many of their finalists, Evra looked to move on too – hoping for another chance to win the biggest prize in Europe.
Patrice Evra was unveiled to the Press at Old Trafford on January 10th 2006, along with fellow new signing Nemanja Vidic. Whilst neither of them managed to make a very good impression with the United fans, both soon got to grips with the pace and physicality of the English game.
Patrice Evra was fighting for a place in the team with fan’s favourite Gabriel Heinze, though he soon managed to make his attacking left-wing play the preferred option. He shared the spot with Heinze as United romped home to their first league title in four years in 2006/07, but made the place his own following Gabriel Heinze’s open declarations of wanting to leave the club for Liverpool.
Evra was named in the PFA Team of the Year as United went on to win the Premier League and Champions League double, and is now as fixed in the United defence as Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.
Patrice Evra was still at Monaco when he was given his first international call-up. With the France team again performing miserably in 2004, young Evra was given his chance in August 2004. His move to United came at the wrong time, with Evra’s struggles at United in the early months costing him a place in the France 2006 World Cup squad.
He was back in the team for Euro 2008, but France crashed out in the group stages.