Europe (UEFA)

Evra threw up in hotel and had brutal clash with Sinclair on Man Utd debut, 23 September 2022, 10:00
Ex-France international Patrice Evra was substituted at half-time on his Premier League debut for Manchester United against local rivals Manchester City at the Etihad Patrice Evra defended against Trevor Sinclair on his Manchester United debut

Patrice Evra has recalled his nightmare Manchester United debut - which saw him throw up and receive a head wound.

The Frenchman joined United in January 2006 and went on to enjoy a superb career at Old Trafford, winning 14 trophies - including five Premier League titles and the Champions League. He played 379 games for the Red Devils over an eight-and-a-half-year spell.

Evra arrived at Old Trafford from Monaco with a decent reputation after helping the French side win the Coupe de la Ligue and reach the final of the Champions League in 2004, losing 3-0 to Jose Mourinho's Roma. Yet his United debut did not go to plan.

The Red Devils were beaten 3-1 by Manchester City at the Etihad. That result was a shock at the time, as City were still a mid-table side and not considered as contenders for silverware. Sheikh Mansour did not complete a takeover of the club until September 2008.

Evra had a particularly difficult day at the Etihad, throwing up on the morning of the derby. "My first game was a disaster," Evra told Betfair. "I remember we played against City... we talked before the interview [about how] I'm not a breakfast fan.

"[At] nine in the morning, I saw my fellow teammates - Louis Saha, Mikael Silvestre - eating pasta, eating beans... so I start eating my breakfast. I was feeling really full and I went into my room and I puked - I puked all my food. I was sweating and feeling sick.

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"And I just had like three training sessions with my teammates. I came in the January. Imagine me being in Monte Carlo, nice and sunny. Arriving in January in Manchester was a massive change for myself."

Evra's day didn't improve once the game started, as he was caught by a challenge from Sinclair and substituted at half-time by Sir Alex Ferguson. The Frenchman did not suggest there was any malice from Sinclair and the referee deemed it a fair challenge.

"After the first five minutes I played against Trevor Sinclair," adds Evra. "I was cut here [on the head] I remember I was against the post and you know when you're talking to yourself, I was like 'what the hell am I doing here?'

"The football was so fast, so strong. I was chilling in Monte Carlo - I was named the best left-back four times. I was thinking I'd made it, that I was a big player. Then at half-time, that's the first time I was introduced to the hairdryer by Sir Alex Ferguson.

"He destroyed everyone and he came to me and said, 'You're going to sit next to me and you're going to learn English football'. I've played for the French national team, I've been in the final of the Champions League - and on my first game I've been subbed after 45 minutes.

"This was a big wake up call for me. I always say it's one of my favourite moments because you know when you think you're a big player, my feet just get straight away down to Earth and say, 'OK - now I have to work hard'."

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