Hard work pays off for Evra

11 June 2010 09:36
Patrice Evra will lead France out against Uruguay highlighting his tough start to life in England as crucial to his development.

The Manchester United left-back was awarded the armband with previous incumbent Thierry Henry likely to start on the bench during the tournament.

While the move displeased the more experienced William Gallas - who has now refused to talk to the media in protest - Evra is proud of his promotion.

The full-back struggled at United in the second half of the 2005/06 season having arrived from Monaco in the January transfer window. However, since then he has blossomed into perhaps the finest left-back in the world and that progression has culminated in him captaining his country.

"I feel pride and honour and a huge responsibility but I have my team-mates behind me," he said. "We are very proud as a team and confident. We have a great deal of responsibility on our shoulders.

"It's difficult to talk about oneself. I've put in some hard work to get to this point - I haven't had any gifts given to me. I am determined.

"My first six months in Manchester were difficult but I believed in myself and my abilities and I think that is what makes a difference.

"I think my psychology helped me build and develop my career."

Evra will lead France out at Cape Town's Green Point Stadium for the first of their three Group A matches with coach Raymond Domenech hoping to have a fully-fit squad, after Jeremy Toulalan and Eric Abidal were both rested at points earlier this week.

His opposite number Oscar Tabarez, meanwhile, has already named his XI with former United man Diego Forlan fit after a slight leg injury.

Tabarez rubbished his country's reputation as hatchet men after more questions about their indiscipline.

The recent South American qualification campaign saw them amass 48 bookings and four red cards in 18 games. Indeed, attacking midfielder Cristian Rodriguez was omitted from Tabarez's squad as he is suspended for two matches following a dismissal in the final qualifier against Argentina.

The 1930 and 1950 winners have earned a reputation for gamesmanship over the years through some memorably defensive and physical performances courtesy of the likes of Paolo Montero, the notoriously aggressive former national team lynchpin.

Tabarez insists it is unfair to stereotype his team, however.

"I think almost all of the squads (in qualifying) had a number of red and yellow cards. Some, in fact, have far more than we did," he said.

"Some of them are also here in South Africa.

"I knew this question would be asked at some point. I expected it.

"Every time an important tournament comes up, we Uruguayans always get that question. I'm happy to say that on March 3 this year we went for a friendly in Switzerland. We won there and Switzerland, who are also here, were given five yellow cards and we were given none.

"So we're talking about football here and I don't think it is right to interpret with a bias. We shouldn't be biased when we interpret certain aspects of reality.

"We shouldn't link that to mistakes Uruguay made (in the past) when playing football."

Source: Team_Talk