Having your family around you when you’re a long way from home might be the preferred option for most Being 3,500 miles from familiar surroundings and well away from the comfort zone, it would maybe be nice to have your big brother there. Teenage Manchester United midfielder Corry Evans, however, is happy to go it alone as he goes about establishing himself in the Northern Ireland senior squad.
On the two occasions he has been in Nigel Worthington’s squad, this time last year in Italy and then away to Albania back in March, brother Jonny wasn’t there and that suited Corry just fine. The 19-year old will double his caps total within the next few days when Northern Ireland face Turkey in Connecticut tomorrow and then World Cup bound Chile in Santiago on Sunday.
“It’s been better for me that Jonny hasn’t been around and I’ve had to make my own way in the squad” Evans said “I’ve had to go in, meet the other lads and get to know them myself the first couple of times that I’ve been in the squad. When I’ve been there I’ve been Corry Evans, rather than being Jonny’s wee brother and it’s been good for me. It’s not that I don’t want him to be there, but it’s just the way it’s happened and I believe it’s been better for me that way around”
While Evans senior opted out of the trip, there was never going to be such a decision for little brother who despite having only two caps to his name so far will be the most experienced midfielder available to manager Worthington on the trip. “Jonny’s played a lot of games this season and needed a break” said Corry. “For me reserve games come around every couple of weeks and there’s maybe only 20 or 25 in a season so at my age I thought it was better for me to get this experience of being in the international squad.”
While Jonny is established in his country’s starting line up and is third choice centre half at United, Corry is still working towards emulating his sibling. He has yet to make a first team appearance for but has come close with a place on the bench for a Premier League game against Fulham in March. And that step towards a first team debut meant Corry abandoning a friend who he’d planned to spend the weekend with.
“I had a friend over from Belfast for the weekend and although I knew we were training on the Saturday morning we were planning to have a day out after that” said Corry. “After training the squad list for the game went up and the next thing some of the lads were coming over to me and telling me my name was on it because Paul Scholes was doubtful” he explained.
“That meant I’d to go and stay in the hotel with the squad on the Saturday night so my mate was left in my house on his own. I wasn’t in the 18 originally but the manager told me to go out and warm up with the rest of the players anyway because Scholes was still a doubt.
Corry continued “When we came back in he told me that I was going to be on the bench because Paul wasn’t quite right and although he’d wanted to be on the bench the manager said no. I was sitting hoping that we’d get a few goals up and I might get a chance although it never came I wasn’t disappointed. It’s another step along the way for me and more progress towards hopefully getting into the first team”
Together with the Brazilian Da Silva twins, Corry and Jonny Evans are the second set of brothers at United but it’s nothing new at Old Trafford. Brian and Jimmy Greenhoff spent a number of years there in the seventies as did Martin and George Buchan during the same period. Gary and Phil Neville came through the youth system together and the Eckersley brothers Adam and Richard were trainees until last year. Finally of course, there was Darren Ferguson playing for his father Alex in the nineties. It sounds as though Manchester United should start being called the family club.
Is it an advantage for brothers to be at the same club?