Patrice Evra: Robin van Persie said sorry for missing a penalty... despite scoring a hat-trick

£24m signing is proving a bargain

Patrice Evra knew from the moment Robin van Persie said sorry at Southampton that Manchester United had signed a class act.

Van Persie's injury-time free-kick at Manchester City on Sunday repaid another chunk of the £24million Sir Alex Ferguson invested in the striker last summer.

With 14 goals to his name already, Ferguson's judgement has already been proved sound, but it was at St Mary's in August, in the aftermath of a 3-2 win in which Van Persie had scored a hat-trick, that Evra discovered the forward's stamp of class.

"Robin is perfect for Manchester United," Evra told TalkSPORT. "When he scored the hat-trick at Southampton he also missed a penalty.

"The first thing he said when he came back to the dressing room was that he was really sorry for missing the penalty. That shows the hunger, humility and personality he has to win trophies.

"He is not just scoring for himself. He really wants the team to win something."

While Ferguson has been effusive about Van Persie's impact, he has tended to keep plaudits for Wayne Rooney to a minimum.

Rooney was alone among the starting line-up at Reading that was required to start the midweek Champions League defeat to Cluj, with Ferguson claiming the 27-year-old needed more games to get his full fitness back after a very brief period on the sidelines with tonsillitis.

If there has been an element of cajoling about Ferguson's man management, it seems to have worked given Rooney has now scored four times in a week to take his seasonal tally to seven.

"A lot of people criticised Wayne at the beginning of the season, asking why he didn't score so many goals," Evra said.

"Last week he scored two goals. Today (Sunday) he got two again. He is a really important player for us."

Rooney has now also followed Alan Shearer, Andy Cole, Robbie Fowler, Thierry Henry and Frank Lampard in becoming the sixth player to score 150 Premier League goals.

In addition, he leapfrogged Sir Bobby Charlton in becoming United's most prolific scorer in Manchester derbies, moving alongside City's Francis Lee and Joe Hayes on the overall record of 10.

"I didn't know I was the top United derby scorer but I am proud of that," Rooney said. "It is a great feeling to score against City.

"There is a lot of passion and pride in Manchester in these games and it has been great for me to score so many."

However, Rooney was happy for Van Persie to take the limelight after his momentous strike.

"I practise free-kicks most days with Robin, Ryan Giggs and Ashley Young," he added. "He is a fantastic striker of the ball. Before he took it I went over and asked him was he crossing or shooting, so I knew whether to get across my man or leave him space to shoot.

"He told me was shooting and thankfully it went into the bottom corner."

The result has given United a healthy advantage heading towards Christmas.

With relegation threatened Sunderland due to visit Old Trafford on Saturday, it would be a major surprise if United's present momentum was halted prior to a tricky festive programme, which sends the Red Devils to Swansea and Wigan either side of home encounters with Newcastle and West Brom.

On December 20, United will learn their last-16 opponents in Europe, and the point where City's unscheduled inactivity could start to work in their favour.

To Evra, it just makes it more remarkable that old friend Carlos Tevez was overlooked in City's starting XI on Sunday in favour of Mario Balotelli.

"Tevez caused us problems when he came on," Evra said. "I told him before the game that I was really happy he was not going to start.

"It was a good sign for us. When he came on he put pressure on every defender and chased everywhere."

PA

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
tv
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
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

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments