Growing up in the North of Ireland, Jonny Evans would have looked up to Cork man Roy Keane as he captained Manchester United to trophy upon trophy throughout his career at the Red Devils.
“At that time, Roy was still coming back from Sunderland to see his family in Hale a lot of the time, so it was easy enough for him to come and get me,” Johnny Evans told the Manchester United website.
“So, that day, Roy Keane drove round to Sale, pulled up outside my mum and dad’s house, knocked on and drove me up to Sunderland.
“You can imagine what that trip was like for me. From start to finish, I just knew that I was in the middle of an unbelievable conversation.
‘I knew I’d never get that chance again to chat with him for three hours straight’
“On one hand, I was desperate to play it cool, trying not to ask or say anything daft… but on the other hand, there were so many questions, as a United fan who idolised him, that I’d always wanted to ask him.
“I’d always thought: Right, if I ever get the chance, I’ll ask him about this and that.”
“Even if he was going to be my manager, I knew I’d never get that chance again to chat with him for three hours straight,” added Evans.
“The next time we spoke, he might be having a go at me for something I’d done on the pitch, so this would be the last time we’d ever speak on anything like a normal level.
“So I asked him a lot of questions, mainly United-related. Roy was great. He made me feel totally comfortable, answered every question and we had a great chat about football in general.
“He had such great insight and that was a really big experience for me.”
Playing under Roy was fantastic, I loved it,” Johnny Evans played under Keane in his time at Sunderland.
“He was very demanding of his players, but that’s how it should be. That’s what I wanted, what I was used to. From a young age, playing at Manchester United growing up, all our coaches were demanding.
“No time for slacking off or anything, so it was normal for me to have that.
“Roy can maybe be a bit more ruthless or cut-throat in how he approaches things and gets things across, but, for me, it was fine and I could handle it, no problem.
“Everything went so well that he didn’t really have a chance to have a go at me or anyone else. I certainly didn’t experience the Roy Keane wrath that everybody talks about.”