Former Sunderland boss Roy Keane has revealed that he signed Jonny Evans because the Northern Irishman had handled himself well in a cafeteria punch up.
Keane’s successful start to life as Sunderland manager was due in no small part to the January loan signings of Jonny Evans and Danny Simpson.
Keane had taken over at the Stadium of Light in 2006 and got the Black Cats promoted in his first season. Evans made 18 league appearances in his first spell on loan in the North East, and was an integral figure in the club’s promotion.
Still, Keane’s comments in his recent autobiography suggest he may not have been quite up to date with all the scouting tools in modern football.
The 46-year-old Irishman was well known for his toughness and aggressiveness in his playing days, and it seems his managerial status didn’t change his philosophy on the game.
“Jonny was a centre-half. He had the qualities of a Manchester United player, and he was bringing them to Sunderland,” Keane says. “For such a young man – he was nineteen – he was very mature, and a born leader.
“I knew I was on a winner; I knew him, and I knew what he was about. I remembered an incident when I was still at United; there’d been a fight in the canteen and Jonny had looked after himself well – I think he knocked the other lad out. I knew Jonny was tough.”
While we all enjoy the mental image of Keane cheering on a teenage Evans as he knocks someone out with a cafeteria tray, we’d like to think there was a little more thought behind the signing than that. Either way, don’t mess with Jonny Evans.
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