We don’t think anyone would have seen this coming.
Patrice Evra recently took part in a Q&A for the official Manchester United website, where he was asked about everything from Cristiano Ronaldo’s eating to his friendship with Ji-Sung Park.
He was also asked footballing questions from his long and successful playing career, one of which was – who the toughest player he ever played against was.
Evra played for France for over 10 years, as well as United, Juventus and Monaco, among a whole host of other European clubs, so he came up against some of the best players the game had to offer.
But his pick for his toughest opponent is definitely a surprise.
Patrice Evra on his toughest opponent
Initially he did start off with quite a philosophical answer, as he is one to do, where he said that Patrice Evra was his toughest opponent, as he was always his own worst enemy.
However, answering the question in earnest, he said: “The toughest one? It’s maybe not the toughest one but the most annoying one was James Milner.
“People always expect me to say another one but James Milner and the reason was because he was always defending more than myself.
“I’m someone, I’m an attacking defender, so he frustrated me so much because he was following me everywhere.
“Even if I was going in the toilet, he was going to follow me. I would say the most annoying is James Milner.”
Evra gave a similarly surprising answer to Mason Greenwood. When he was asked the same question, he shocked many by saying that Fulham’s Joe Bryan was his “toughest challenge” so far.
Patrice Evra vs James Milner
While it is surprising that Evra didn’t pick Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, it is also somewhat believable that Milner is an absolute nuisance to play against.
Milner, who has been playing at the top level for nearly 20 years, has always had the energy to get up and down the pitch, and the technique and calm decision-making skills to punish the opposition when he got the chance.
In fact, when he filled in at left-back for Liverpool, his playing style was not dissimilar to that of Evra’s – relentless getting forward, and tough at the back.