Jonny Evans reveals how video game football manager sparked his international career

Kavan Flavius
90Min

West Brom defender Jonny Evans has revealed that he owes his international career to Football Manager, as it was the video game that got him noticed by the then-Northern Ireland manager.

The former United man was speaking on Graham Hunter's podcast and admitted that Lawrie Sanchez had 'no idea' who he was a lad with a sharp eye saw him on there and recommended him to his dad, who then passed on the message.


Manchester United v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League

"It's actually a funny story. Well, I think it's a funny story," he said. "I played, I think it was against Germany, for the U21s, on a Friday night. 

"I get a call on a Saturday night. Northern Ireland have been beaten 3-0 by Iceland and [Lawrie] Sanchez was not happy. I got a call, 'We want you in the full squad tomorrow morning.' 

"I think I was actually on my day out to a nightclub. I carried on my night anyway and joined up with the squad the next day. We were training and I think Sanchez could see after a few sessions that I could use my left foot. So he's thought, 'Right, I'll put him at left-back in the session.' 


Watford v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League

"As I'm playing left-back, he's thought, 'I'm going to have to play him. He was so impressed with me in training, he just thought he'd have to throw me in. He just said to me, 'You're going to play.'"

Evans was on loan at Antwerp from United at the time, and it was the son of the assistant coach Terry Gibson who played scout in Football Manager and spotted his supposed talent.

"Terry Gibson later told me that the reason I got called up," Evans added. "Sanchez didn't know anything about me at the time, I played reserve football.


Wales v Northern Ireland - Round of 16: UEFA Euro 2016

"He [Gibson] said, 'We didn't know anything about you, but my son saw you on Championship Manager.

"The son recommended me to Terry, Terry recommended me to Sanchez and that's how it went. I ended up playing the game, 3-2, a David Healy hat-trick."


Kavan Flavius is a regular contributor to the Official Chelsea Guest Fan Blog, find him on Twitter @KavanFlavius.

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