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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future