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Getting defensive: Ferguson hails Evans as best defender in England

While he was at it, the Manchester United boss confirmed he would be splitting up the DaSilva twins, Fabio will be loaned out next season.

Image: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire/Press Association Images

AFTER GETTING ROUNDLY criticised for his performance in Manchester United’s shock defeat to Wigan, Alex Ferguson has rushed to the defence of his centre-half, Jonny Evans.

The poor showing was a reminder of some of the Northern Irishman’s shakier days in the red jersey.

This season, Evans has shown a marked improvement, helping United to the Premier league summit despite the absence of Nemanja Vidic.

“I must admit my heart sank a little when I learned just how long Nemanja was going to be out,” Ferguson wrote in today’s match programme, reported by the Sunday Times.

“He and Rio Ferdinand had become the cornerstone of our defence but Rio responded brilliantly, despite his back problem, and has now struck up a fine partnership with Jonny Evans.

“Jonny came to us from Belfast when he was 12 or 13, always exceptionally talented but gangly with physical issues growing up. We had him out on loan with Antwerp and Sunderland and now we are seeing the value of nurturing him.

“There is no doubt he has been helped playing alongside the experience of Rio and he is now arguably the best defender in the country.”

Clearly, Ferguson feels that the loan spells were of massive benefit to the 24-year-old’s development and so, will give young Brazilian fullback, Fabio Da Silva, the same treatment.

A mixture of injury trouble and the prominence of Patrice Evra at left back has limited Fabio’s league starts this year to just two. This, after the 21-year-old started in last May’s Champions League final.

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“Fabio will go on loan next season to give him concentrated first-team experience, I have already talked to him and he understands the value of playing regularly at a higher level than we can give him at the moment.”

The move away from Carrington will mean Fabio will be separated from his twin brother, Rafael, for the first time. The two joined Fluminense at the age of 11 and moved to Manchester at 17.

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