Steven McInerney looks at the youngster's latest loan move
It's only a month loan deal, admittedly, but given his involvement in and around the first team this year it felt worthy of a follow up. It's been a good few weeks for the youngster. The Mancunian, and devout City fan, broke all kinds of records last month as he finally completed his way along the long and rarely trodden path from the u8s to the first team. He made his debut in the Carling Cup, coming on to replace Yaya Toure as the clock counted down through its final moments. A small teaser, yes, but a nice moment nonetheless. It was deserved too, with his brief forays in the first team friendlies highlighting his naturally elegant playing style, a style seemingly at ease with the technical requirements of the way the club plays. He's a highly accomplished footballer, and having tasted football last year on loan with Scunthorpe and Crewe the year before, sticking with the EDS didn't seem an option.
City clearly agreed. On Tuesday morning he confirmed a one month loan deal with Dean Smith's Walsall. He wasn't the first to City youngster either to step out for the midlands club, with Jordy Hiwula, now moved on and currently at Wigan, also spending time there to great effect last year. The real surprise came from his immediate involvement in first team affairs. Less than 24 hours after hearing of the move he was named in the starting lineup as Walsall faced Barnsley away from home - a baptism of fire, yet one he came through with his usual, nonchalant ease. He scored the opener, twisting well inside the area to fire home and set Walsall on their way to a 2-0 victory. He impressed too with his composure and general all round play in an assured and encouraging debut. Walsall, thankfully, play good football and its a young team too - Evans should fit in well if Smith's treatment of Hiwula is anything to go by.
This move could be a vital part of his development. A tall, graceful player, adept at spreading play and capable of a long range screamer, he's a lovely footballer - but one with nothing new to learn in the EDS. Young players need professional football, and Evans is no exception. Though he may not be a headline grabber like some of our other academy players, there is likable confidence to his game. He could go either way potentially, and the only we'll ever know will be by affording him the opportunities he needs. I'm a firm believer that you never quite know, until you know, so to speak. You have to give players that opportunity to see how they adapt in a certain environment. Anything else is guess work - educated guess work, yes, but guess work nonetheless. Some players will go up a level unexpectedly, and others who you would presume would be dead certs, simply don't, slipping through the net as they don't quite adapt to then professional game and more testing environment. It's an impossible formula, hence a long list of failed wonderkids, and on the flip side, unexpected late bloomers and surprise stars.
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