Patrice Evra believes any player that comes through the doors at Old Trafford should not believe they have made it just because they have signed on the dotted line.
Patrice Evra has warned current and future United players not to believe they have made it just because they have signed for the club. The outspoken defender, a five times Premier League winner under Sir Alex Ferguson, insists some players are more interested in building social media fanbases than winning trophies. And he maintained all youth team and academy players should be made to study the history and traditions of the club before being allowed to pull on a red shirt.
“Every time I was putting this shirt on I knew how many people have worn this shirt and won. You have to respect this tradition and the philosophy of this club,” he said.
“When you play for Manchester United, it’s not for you. You don’t use Manchester United, and because you’re a United player so you’re famous, you’re on social media.
“You play for United because you have to give to those people.”
Evras critique, speaking on the official Man United Podcast, did not name names for all that many will have their own ideas about the targets.
Paul Pogba, who has 40 million followers on Instagram, for instance, is more active on social media than on the pitch in a season limited by injury to just eight appearances.
Patrice Evra, 38, suggested some kids coming through the academy do not even know who Sir Bobby Charlton is – a man he maintained was the perfect example to follow.
“Every time I was shaking the hands of Bobby Charlton, I felt something,” he said. “And every time I saw him in the plane, travelling with us, when I know what’s happening with all his ex-team-mates, I was like, ‘This person is a miracle’.
“Maybe some kids – and its not an excuse, even if they are like six, seven – when they play for this club they need to know every person working here, and this is really important.
“You dont have any excuse. Just watch some DVDs like I did. Its really important.”
Evra said Ferguson was famously intolerant of players who started to believe their own hype.
“Once in pre-season before we got on the bus, we were really tired and there was a queue of fans,” said the former France international.
“The players were like when no one signs, no one has to sign. So we went straight to the bus. Everyone. I look out the window and I see Sir Alex Ferguson signing each autograph.
“I swear he must have signed for like 45 minutes. He was signing for everyone. I said ‘Guys, when the boss comes on the bus, we are done.
“When he came on the bus, he gave us the hairdryer. What the hell do you think you are?! Those people are paying your salary. Those people are coming to watch you. Now get the f**k down there and sign.’
“And we had to sign each fan. But that’s the mentality.”
In addition to his five Premier League titles, Evra helped land three league cups and a Champions League trophy in 2008.
“I always say that Didier Deschamps taught me winning is important, but Ferguson taught me that winning is normal.
“Even after big wins he just said, Well done, son. He was never screaming, apart from when we won the Champions League final. Winning was just something normal.”