Patrice Evra grateful for arrival of Alexander Buttner at Manchester United

Left-back thankful for competition

Patrice Evra owes a debt of gratitude to Alexander Buttner for restoring him back to top form.

For the majority of last summer, Manchester United were heavily linked with Everton's Leighton Baines in the belief Sir Alex Ferguson was looking for reinforcements at left-back.

Evra's form had dipped, despite him topping the United appearance charts last term when he played 47 times, and the theory went that Ferguson was preparing to unload the 31-year-old, who moved to Old Trafford from Monaco in January 2006.

However, Evra has responded in superb fashion.

His four goals this season is a personal best and, in claiming a fifth assist to set up Wayne Rooney for the winner against Southampton last night, he was matched the number David Silva accumulated in Manchester City's Premier League title-winning campaign.

"I love it when people start to doubt me and think, 'Maybe Patrice might lose his place', because it makes me think, 'Okay, we will see'," Evra told Inside United.

"I remember when Alex arrived and he scored against Wigan and people started to say, 'Pat might lose his place'.

"I have been challenged by Heinze, Silvestre....sometimes you need that.

"I will always try to help Alex to become a better player because I have more experience and can help him do things better for United.

"But on a selfish point I am happy with that challenge, because I know I will have to fight every time to get my place on the team."

Evra agrees with those who claim this has been the Frenchman's best campaign for United.

Certainly that goalscoring statistic is beyond question.

Yet, for a player who started out as a winger back home in France before moving into a defensive role, it seems to have been a long time coming.

"I don't really understand why I have only scored goals this year," said Evra.

"I have been frustrated every year that I have not scored more often.

"For a player of my qualities I should score every season.

"I don't know why this year it has happened but I feel whenever I touch the ball in the box it could go in."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable