Date: 25th September 2008 at 4:34pm
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SIR Alex is heaping praise on Jonny Evans, who has already made a big impression playing alongside Rio Ferdinand in place of the injured Vidic.

“We had a lot of offers from clubs who wanted to buy him in the summer – three or four clubs were interested – but we stuck to our guns because we believe in him.

“He`ll be a future centre-half for Manchester United, there`s no doubt about that. That`s a vindication of our belief in the boy, and also to prove to himself that he can believe what we`re saying to him, that he will play a lot of football at this club. He`ll get plenty of games here.”

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The manager also claimed the loan system had benefited him. “He had six months at Antwerp as a young kid at 17, then he had two spells at Sunderland and did really well. In fact, I think Sunderland could have been relegated last season if it wasn`t for the stability of Jonny Evans.

“I watched him for Northern Ireland against the Czech Republic recently and he was very good indeed. He`s only 20 years old but he`s already got 11 international caps. He`ll be a fixture for Northern Ireland now, I imaging he`ll be their captain in time, he`s an outstanding candidate for that and he`s a boy with great talent. We`re pleased with his progress.”

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