Fergie: Evra fine for Anfield

Fergie: Evra fine for Anfield

Published Jan. 14, 2012 7:15 a.m. ET

Although Luis Suarez will be suspended for the fourth-round tie later this month, it will mark Evra's first return to Anfield since he levelled racism allegations against the Liverpool front-man in October that resulted in an eight-match ban.

Given the vitriol that came out of Liverpool in the wake of that case, sentiment is bound to be against Evra, who has assumed the United captaincy since Nemanja Vidic sustained his season-ending cruciate injury.

However, Ferguson is not concerned by that.

"He's done okay. I haven't decided on that (whether Evra will play) but it wouldn't be a problem for me," said Ferguson.


The United boss is maintaining a club stance about not talking specifically about the Suarez case and rebuffed questions on the subject today.

Yet he did say Evra was the automatic choice as captain given the two most obvious alternatives, Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand, are due to age and injury, not regular members of his starting line-up.

"Rio would have been the captain if he didn't have that inconsistency because of a series of injuries," said Ferguson.

"Someone who will be playing all the time should be at the forefront of your mind to be your captain and that was the case with Patrice.

"He is not as voluble as Rio but he certainly influences a lot of things and his own performance are very good.

"The players look up to him. He's very popular with a good personality. He's very friendly, has humour and he is a determined lad."

And now he has Paul Scholes alongside him after the midfielder made the surprising decision to come out of retirement ahead of last weekend's Manchester derby.

Although he was only on the pitch for half an hour, the 37-year-old made more passes than any City player managed in the entire game, an incredible 97% of which found their target.

The question now is whether to select him from the start against Bolton at Old Trafford on Saturday, when victory would take the Red Devils level on points with the leaders, who do not play until Monday night's trip to Wigan.

"Paul has trained really hard this week and he is looking very good," said Ferguson.

"You can't ignore the quality that he brings to the team."

Indeed, rather than the negative perception some observers claim it brings, Ferguson is convinced Scholes can have the same impact as Henrik Larsson, whose 13 appearances during a short loan spell in 2007 inspired United to the first of three successive league championships.

"Henrik was an incredible professional," said the United boss.

"He was a breath of fresh air in terms of how he trained and how inquisitive he was about training.

"It was a nice moment of the players to see a lad of that age still wanting to learn.

"All of the players idolise Paul anyway and it was an easy decision to make."

Sadly, Ferguson cannot offer any insight into when Darren Fletcher will return, even though he went to the Etihad Stadium as a fan on Sunday to cheer his team-mates to victory despite being ruled out for an indefinite period with a chronic inflammatory bowel condition.

"He's been coming into training for the last few days, just getting himself out of the house really," said Ferguson.

"It is difficult to put a time on it because it is not one we can assess accurately.

"It is what it is and hopefully time will be the answer."