MICKY Adams, the Sheffield United manager, has described Ched Evans’ contribution to the club’s survival battle as “excellent” of late.
Having endured a difficult start to his career in South Yorkshire the Wales striker, who cost £3 million when he left Manchester City 19 months ago, has been in sparkling form, scoring six goals in 12 appearances.
Evans’ transformation, which the player himself attributes to a change in lifestyle off the pitch, has come at a crucial time for United as they attempt to claw themselves away from the lower reaches of the table.
Despite being averse to praising individuals - “I don’t like blowing too much smoke up their a**es” – Adams said: “Ched has been excellent for me.
“I can see why they paid the money they did for him.
“I can’t speak about before my time here. But what I can say is that he’s been top drawer for me.
“Obviously there are areas where he can improve so he can’t rest on his laurels.”
Evans, who missed Saturday’s defeat by Ipswich Town after being diagnosed with gastroenteritis, has also withdrawn from the principality’s friendly with Ireland tonight. Given events at Portman Road, which saw United slip deeper into the relegation zone, Adams hopes the 22-year-old will be available for selection when Millwall visit Bramall Lane this weekend.
The Carling Nations Cup tie in Dublin marks former United manager Gary’s Speed debut as an international manager.
Evans said: “Hopefully Gary being there will be good for me at that level. He helped me and knows what I can do so I might be able to get some more opportunities.”
A solid display at the Aviva Stadium would have enhanced Evans’ claims for a starting role when England travel to Cardiff for a Group G Euro 2012 qualifier next month.
“I get a fair bit of stick from the lads for being Welsh but I reckon they owe me one,” said Evans. “When us internationals are playing the rest of them get the weekend off!”