Evra sees Smalling positive
Patrice Evra admits the loss of Chris Smalling is a blow for Manchester United but will boost France's chances of success at the Euros.
Last Updated: 11/05/12 2:20pm
Manchester United skipper Patrice Evra admits the loss of Chris Smalling is a blow for the club but will boost France's chances of success at the Euros.
Smalling had looked on course to be selected for Roy Hodgson's squad for the tournament in Ukraine and Poland this summer.
France will play England in their opening match of the tournament and, while he is disappointed the former Fulham youngster will miss Sunday's match at Sunderland for United, Evra admits to having mixed feelings.
Evra acknowledges the loss of the versatile 22-year-old will improve France's chances of success when the two teams face each other in the Group D opener.
"You always have to find the silver lining," said Evra.
"It's a huge blow for United. Chris is one of the strongest defenders in our squad.
"I'm really sad for him but, to be fair, I'm happy he won't play against me and France in the Euros.
"I have to be honest. When he told me he was injured and would miss the game against Sunderland I said: 'No, Chris, we need you'.
"And then he told me he'd also miss the Euros and I just said, 'Thanks! Well done'."
Smalling will be even more disappointed after he opted to play on against Swansea last week when he sustained the injury.
Sir Alex Ferguson was on the verge of taking him off until Rio Ferdinand sustained a similar injury, which it now looks like he will recover from for this weekend's match.
"We tried to take him off but then Rio got a knock and Chris thought he could stay on," said Ferguson.
"Now he is going to miss the European Championships with a torn groin muscle.
"We are assessing what to do with it at the moment but it is a bad injury."