Evans enjoys senior NI role

The 22-year-old is returning to United to fight for a place after

spending the last few days guiding youngsters for his country.

Evans was one of few experienced heads as a much-changed Northern

Ireland side fought out a 1-1 friendly draw with Morocco at Windsor

Park. In the absence of a raft of players, Evans found himself the

third-most capped player in the team and even wore the captain’s

armband for the first time in the second half. That was a job at

odds with his current position at Old Trafford, where he has found

himself out of the side in the past two months. Evans said: “It was

kind of strange. “There were a lot of new faces around the hotel

but a few of them had been in the squad before and we always have

good spirit with Northern Ireland. “We trained well. We only had

two days and two sessions but the lads did well. “I thought they

handled it pretty well and we played some good stuff. It was a good

performance by us in the end. “I told them, ‘Just go out and enjoy

it, do things simple and work hard’. “That is a big thing we do

here in Northern Ireland. We always try to work hard on the pitch

and if we do we end up getting good results.” Evans was the obvious

choice to take over as captain once Aaron Hughes was withdrawn by

manager Nigel Worthington at half-time. “That was nice,” added

Evans, who was winning his 24th cap. “Nigel said before that if I

managed to stay on the pitch, barring injury, I’d be captain in the

second half. That was very pleasing.” Evans is now hoping for an

opportunity to reclaim a place in the United side and can see a

potential opening in next week’s Champions League clash against

Rangers. “It’s been a bit frustrating really,” said Evans, who has

made just one Carling Cup appearance for United since September. “I

was in at the start but then one or two performances weren’t up to

scratch. “I know if I don’t play well the manager can’t pick me so

I have just got to wait for my chance again. If I get the chance I

have to make sure I play well. “It would be nice to play at Ibrox

and hopefully I’ll get a chance. “We’ve got 10 points in the group

so the manager might want to rest one or two. It’ll be nice to

travel up there.” Worthington was forced to make wholesale changes

for Wednesday night’s game after being hit by 12 withdrawals since

naming his initial squad. Only three players – Evans, Hughes and

Ryan McGivern – survived from the side which laboured to a

disappointing draw in the Faroe Islands last month and three new

caps were handed out over the 90 minutes. Two of the new faces, Lee

Hodson and Adam Barton, were both given a chance from the start

while Bournemouth’s Josh McQuoid came off the bench in the second

half. McQuoid played a role in securing the draw, winning the

86th-minute penalty from which Rory Patterson tucked home the

equaliser. Northern Ireland had trailed since the 55th minute when

Arsenal’s Marouane Chamakh charged down a clearance by substitute

goalkeeper Alan Blayney to score. McQuoid, 20, said: “It was a

tough game and they went 1-0 up but we were unlucky to concede the

goal, that was a bit of a mistake. “But we pressed on, kept our

heads up and went down the other end and got the goal. “There were

a lot of inexperienced players playing but that shows the quality

of the talent coming through. “I thought it was a good performance

considering the team we had out and the lack of experience. “I

think the result will give us a lot of confidence which will help

on the pitch. “I enjoyed every minute I was out there, it was good

to get on. It was a great experience and a great honour.

“International football is the biggest achievement you can get.

“The aim for me now is to keep on playing well for my club and

hopefully I’ll get another call-up.”