West Ham United manager David Moyes has heaped praise of the newest member of his squad, 36-year-old former Manchester United full-back Patrice Evra.
The former French International ad free-agent was signed last week, days after the conclusion of a frustrating January Transfer Window for the club, signing on a short-term deal.
Speaking in his Press Conference before the Premier League win over Watford at Rush Green Training Ground last Friday afternoon, which MooreThanJustAClub were fortunate enough to be in, the Scottish boss had this to say about the signing of his new man,
“Well, I’d considered him during the month of January as well because, when I knew that Arthur got sent-off I thought we were going to be short, but just because we were so busy looking at other players.
“We didn’t do it in January, so when the Window closed it was a bit calmer and we could get it done”, proclaimed Moyes.
The man who has turned things around since arriving at the London Stadium in early November continued, “But, I know Pat well, I know what he’s capable of, I know his leadership qualities and what he’ll bring to the Dressing Room.
“And also, his level of professionalism I think’s as good as anybody’s and he’s seen and worked for the best, so hopefully that will rub off and pass it onto the players”.
Moyes, who managed Evra during his brief stint at the helm at Old Trafford, was also keen to comment on the purpose of the deal and why the larger than life character was needed.
“Well, we’ve needed him for the cover because Arthur’s been out with the suspension, we’ve got nobody else on the left side, if we lost Aaron Cresswell we’d be short a player.
“So, we’ve got him here to play, we like all his other qualities but we’ve got him here to play and we’ll hopefully get him ready as quick as we possibly can and see if he’s ready to play”.
The defender’s deal went through in time for him to feature in the Matchday Squad for the London Stadium victory over the Hornets at the weekend, though he was an unused substitute in that one.
Many supporters are also hoping that Evra’s winning mentality will boost the team as they look to maintain their English Top-Flight status over the last few months of the season.
The veteran full-back has enjoyed a jewel-encrusted career up until this point, winning a staggering five Premier League three League Cups and a Champions League, amongst many other major honours in his 20 years as a professional footballer.
However, the Frenchman has not played competitively since November, when an incident with a fan before a Europa League clash with Vitoria saw him fired by Ligue 1 outfit Marseille and dealt a UEFA ban up until the end of June 2018.
But, Moyes didn’t seem to think that the four-month lay-off will be a factor in terms of Evra’s match-fitness and his ability to slot back into the swing of things in England,
“He’s not far away in my eyes because I think he’s been training and look, he played in November for Marseille, so he’s no different from somehow who’s maybe had a longish injury, maybe a 10 or 12-week injury, so I think getting back playing sometimes as quick as you can is the best thing you can do”.
Evra has certainly won over the support of the Claret & Blue Army in his first few days in East London, partly thanks to a series of videos posted on his Social Media accounts, one of them featuring him dancing around in Central London and using his catchphrase “I Love This Game”.
On the pitch though, many will be hoping that he can confound critics and skeptics to prove that age is just a number, making himself useful to the club’s cause, starting with the League trip to Anfield to face Liverpool in ten days’ time.