The trio of West Bromwich Albion stars Chris Brunt, Gareth McAuley and Jonny Evans have been called up by the Northern Ireland national football team to represent the country during the forthcoming international break.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill named the squad to play Azerbaijan and Croatia in November as they seek a spot in Russia 2018 finals.
The third international break of the current season would see Northern Ireland play Azerbaijan in a World Cup qualifier, and Croatia in a friendly four days after. O'Neill invited Norwich’s Michael McGovern, Alan Mannus who plays for St. Johnstone and Hartlepool United’s Trevor Carson as likely shot stoppers in the 25-man list.
O’Neill would be hoping that the invited players get the required result against Azerbaijan.
“With seven points from nine, they [Azerbaijan] have had a good start and not conceded a goal. They are not a team that is going to come and attack us, they will be well organised and we expect it will be very difficult. When we look at the group, these are the games that we feel will be key leading into where we finish,” he said.
Aaron Hughes, Ryan McGivern, Conor McLaughlin, Lee Hodson, and Tom Flanagan are expected to join the West Brom trio in defence. Any of Kyle Lafferty, Josh Magennis, Conor Washington and Will Grigg will place in front ahead of any of Steven Davis, Niall McGinn, Ollie Norwood, Corry Evans, Jamie Ward, Shane Ferguson, Stuart Dallas, Paddy McNair, Paul Paton and Matthew Lund Rochdale.
Brunt is returning after a serious injury to the knee in February. Grigg was missing due to personal issues but is expected to play. Michael Smith and Liam Boyce were excluded despite being called for the October games. Paton and Hughes were invited despite being invited to the last games due to an injury crisis.
Arsenal were heavily linked with Jonny Evans during the summer, but this transfer rumour was subject to a lot of ridicules on social media.
Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern, though, claims that Evans deserves a lot of respect and it was not nice to see him subject to social media ridicule. After having played a lot with Evans during the international games, McGovern says that the former Manchester United defender has everything required to succeed at the top level of the game.
After coming through the ranks at United, Evans slipped down the pecking order at Old Trafford a few years ago and this resulted in the move to West Brom in order to get regular first team football. Under the guidance of Tony Pulis, the player has flourished with some impressive performances in recent months.
This reportedly made him a key transfer target for Arsenal during the summer. West Brom were reluctant to sell him due to the lack of alternatives in the squad. In the end, the Gunners brought in ShkodranMustafi from Valencia for a whopping £35 million. Evans would have been a less expensive signing, but he would not have been the World Cup winner as Mustafi.
Still, McGovern is of the opinion that a quality player like Evans should be treated with respect. “I don't think he gets enough respect. At Man United he never got enough respect and he was part of the team that won the league; it was him, (Nemanja) Vidic and (Rio) Ferdinand and Jonny played most of that season.He's a class defender. I don't know if it's because he's British, if he was foreign maybe he'd got more credit. I think he showed at the Euros what a top-class defender he is,” saidMcGovern in response to the social media criticism.
There is news that Arsenal might make a move for West Brom defender Jonny Evans in the days to come.
Indeed the Gunners are currently short on defenders after the injuries to Per Mertesacker and Gabriel. And with the fact that Laurent Koscielny will only be back after the start of the new season, it is becoming urgent for Arsene Wenger to look for a replacement.
So far, the French manager has only recruited one defender in Rob Holding but with the injuries as well as the late return of Koscielny, it is believed that Arsene Wenger might make a move for Jonny Evans.
But so far there is no bid that has been achieved but a decision might be taken in the days to come. However, this move might not be a favorite among Gunners fans as they would have expected a more impressive signing for their team.
It is also believed that Arsene Wenger is monitoring ShkodranMustafi as a possible reinforcement at the back. However, the player might cost around £41m from Valencia, and this can be a stumbling block for the transfer. Arsene Wenger is famous for refusing to pay an excessive amount in the transfer market and may hesitate to complete this transfer.
They might face competition from Chelsea however in this transfer. It is believed that Antonio Conte is also looking for a quality defender in order to reinforce their defence and might consider making a move for the Germany international as well.
If ever Arsenal misses out on ShkodranMustafi then it might be highly possible that they will be making a move for Jonny Evans. Wenger will need cover at the back and will not want to wait for the transfer window to be over to look for new players.
West Bromwich Albion has confirmed the signing of 25-year old winger Matt Phillips from Queen Park Rangers.
The player is believed to have made the move for £5 million meaning the player is among the top priced Albion players.
Phillips, who is the first signing of the new season and first permanent player of the club ahead of the forthcoming season, will be unveiled once the results of the medicals are in and personal terms finalised. He is set to become the club’s seventh most expensive player in history.
Salomon Rondon places first as the club’s most expensive player costing them £12 million. The 26-year old player scored at the international level for Venezuela and was a key member of the team as he has been at his club since he joined.
Next is Nigerian forward Brown Ideye who joined from Russian club Dynamo Kieve for £10 million in the summer of 2014. He was the record signing then before the deal of Rondon. He got injured early but he found his form with time, especially with the arrival of Tony Pulis. Pulis was still not sure so he sold the player to Greek club Olympiacos.
James Chester was gotten for £8 million from Hull City, making the player the most expensive defender ever at the club. His displays at first enraged the fans but he found a solid footing with time. The 27-year old has been decent for Wales in central position.
Stephane Sessengnon is fourth with £6.6 million from Sunderland. His time at the club appeared over when he had a falling out with Pulis, though his goals tally was poor too.
Jonny Evans is in fifth position after joining from Manchester United in 2015 for £6 million. He was voted the player of the year by his colleagues due to his good performance. Then there’s Victor Anichebe for £6 million from Everton.
Jonny Evans said Northern Ireland were under a lot of pressure in the game they played against Slovakia.
The game which was played on Saturday ended 0-0 but it was a vital game for Michael O'Neill's squad ahead of the continental tournament in France. The game became the third clean sheet in a row for Northern Ireland.
The team has now arrived and settled in Lyon, France as they hope to give the title their best shot. West Brom player Jonny Evans is among the players having the time of his life in France. He put in decent performance in the game over the weekend, joining up with Gareth McAuley and Craig Cathcart in three-man defence. Evans said:
"The pleasing thing is that we showed real resilience. We were under a lot of pressure and found it hard to get out in the second-half, but they are a good side. The biggest positive we can take from it is that we were fighting for each other and there was a determination not to concede and lose the game.
"We've only conceded one goal in recent games and that was a penalty (against Wales). That's a great foundation to have going into a major tournament.”
The star player also praised his defence team mates, saying we were a great defensive unit. Evans praised the coach for placing a lot of emphasis on the defence during training even though it involved a lot of work.
Evans said he hopes the team would remain in France longer than they booked for. He was very thankful for the fans’ support all along. Though they were few in Slovakia but he is certain many will be in France to cheer the Green and White Army on as they play.
West Brom defender Jonny Evans claims that he has sympathy for the referees, who have had a tough job of spotting infringements in the penalty box during a set piece situation.
Even though the defender admitted that this was a tough aspect of the game, he felt that referees should be more consistent with their decisions. Evans was at the wrong end of such a decision while playing with the Northern Ireland team against Slovenia. The defender gave away a penalty that proved costly for his team.
During the weekend, though, West Brom could count themselves as being lucky for a decision going their way. This led to the equaliser for the Midlands team, who ended any hopes of Spurs winning the league title with a 1-1 draw. Tottenham fans complained that West Brom’s goal in the second half should have been disallowed since it was a direct impeachment. The goal, though, was allowed to stand and West Brom held on for a well-deserved draw. Spurs are extremely disappointing with their failure to win, which means that Leicester City can be crowned as the league title winners this weekend.
Mauricio Pochettino, though, claimed that his team will continue to believe unless it is mathematically impossible to be crowned as the champions. "I was penalised in the last international friendly for something similar and one of the biggest things we have had a problem with is that when you go into the opposition box, it is happening to you and you are not getting the foul. You want that consistency. I think it is a difficult thing because the referee sees at that time and has to give it, but there's other instances where he doesn't see it and that's where you don't get the equal decisions," said the West Brom defender.
Players often dream about moving to big clubs but the reality can sometimes be the opposite.
This was especially true in the case of Jonny Evans, who came through the ranks at Manchester United and went on to lift several trophies. Just when it seemed that the Northern Ireland defender had what it took to become the next Rio Ferdinand or Steve Bruce at Old Trafford, poor form coupled with lack of faith from the managers meant that he had to leave the club in search of regular football. This led to the move to West Brom.
Evans has become a prominent figure in the West Brom first-team since joining the club for around £ 6 million at the start of the season. He has made 16 league appearances and scored one goal for the Midlands outfit.
He has been unable to play in every league game due to niggling injury issues - preferring to do yacht charter in the UK instead to aid his recovery. Evans will have a chance to reunite with his former teammates when West Brom host United at the hawthorns this weekend. Evans says that he does not have any regrets about leaving United. Instead, he has grown to enjoy his time at West Brom. He has required just six months to make more than 15 league appearances while taking the equivalent of 18 months for the same at United.
“I have to say, I have really enjoyed it. When you are out of the team and not playing regularly, there is always that question in your head of ‘When am I going to play next?’I have enjoyed the feeling – players talk about it all the time – that Saturday feeling of going out and playing football, and that has been one of the biggest things. I had a fantastic time at United and I loved it, but there came a point when I had to make a decision,” said Evans.
Jonny Evans completed his transfer from Manchester United to West Bromwich Albion on August of 2015 and the Irish defender has turned out to be one of the best signings in recent times.
Evans has made a surprisingly impressive start to his career at the Hawthorns after making consistently high level performances in his new club in spite of being placed out his usual position.
The natural position of Jonny Evans is in the heart of the defence as a centre-back but due to a number of injuries that the players of West Bromwich Albion have been picking up, it has forced the coach Tony Pullis on having to rotate his squad and put some of his players in different positions than their usual ones.
Even though the £6 million summer signing has had to play in distinct positions in the team, the Irishman has managed to do it without any problems and has been receiving praise from his teammates as well as the head coach Tony Pullis.
On November 29, West Bromwich Albion travelled to the home stadium of West Ham United at the Boleyn Ground and the match finished with a final scoreboard of 1-1. When the match reached it’s end, Jonny Evans received huge praise for his performance as he had to play as a makeshift left back and somehow still managed to perform at a high level.
West Bromwich Albion’s Tony Pullis praised Jonny Evans as he said: "Jonny Evans was absolutely magnificent at left-back today. The kid is a top player. He can play anywhere across the back four, and I also think he could play as a holding midfield player. That’s a testament of being a really good footballer, if you can play in any position on the pitch.”
£6 million has turned out to be a bargain price for a player who has solved so many defensive problems and helped his team in reaching and competing in the middle section of the Premier League.
Former red Jonny Evans claims that he is looking forward to the reunion with his former teammate like Wayne Rooney when West Brom visit Old Trafford this weekend.
Evans came through the ranks at Manchester United but he was unable to establish a place in the first-team once Sir Alex Ferguson retired. Evans had slip down the pecking order immensely before being sold by Louis van Gaal in the summer. The move to West Brom, though, have helped him rediscover his form due to regular football. At 27, he is at the peak of his career and he needs to be playing regularly.
This is exactly what West Brom are providing him right now. Evans has already accumulated 740 minutes of league football action this season. This is in comparison to the 1090 minutes of action that he received in an entire league campaign with United last season. West Brom will find it difficult to hold back United, who have discovered their winning form once again. Only recently, United went on a run of four matches without a win. This led to criticism of the manager and players like Wayne Rooney. United’s star striker has only two goals in 11 games but he has been playing in a wide position more often than not this season.
"If someone's not scoring enough goals or maybe going through a bit of a patch where they're not scoring then all of a sudden 'their legs have gone'.I don't think that's the case with Wayne. He is such a clever player, he will always find a great position and I think if you look at the games he's playing in a position that he's doing it for the team.You can see that a lot. He's working hard for the team. The team have got a very solid unit and that comes from the front. He's a big part of that,” said Evans.
Despite having been in Old Trafford since 2006, Jonny Evans has never truly been an influential player for Manchester United as the Northern Irish defender only makes a limited number of appearances and has to settle with a place on the sidelines for the majority of almost every single season that he been in Old Trafford.
The manager of West Bromwich Albion, Tony Pulis is targeting Jonny Evans as a summer target that can be signed to reinforce the defensive department of his squad which finished in the 13th spot of the Premier League during the 2014-15 season.
Tony Pulis has already signed a Manchester United player after securing the services of Darren Fletcher on a free transfer back in February but Pulis is hoping he can add lure in another player from Old Trafford and the player who has entered his radar is Jonny Evans.
In the previous season of the Premier League, Evans only managed on making 14 appearances as he struggled trying to find a regular spot in the starting lineup of Louis van Gaal. Injuries were another reason on why he wasn’t as active on the pitch.
Jonny Evans was identified by Pulis as an ideal candidate to be signed in the summer transfer window but a problem that is in the path from this deal of being completed is the fact that Manchester United has a price tag on Evans of around €10 million, which is too much for West Bromwich Albion to pay that amount of money.
When Darren Fletcher was signed by West Bromwich Albion a few months ago on February, the experienced midfielder was immediately turned into the captain of the Premier League club and the player has been reigniting his flame and a similar thing might occur if Jonny Evans is signed by Tony Pullis and his team but it will depend on a number of factors and especially his price tag which is out of the reach of West Bromwich Albion.