Written off and loving it '“ Evo on the armband, consistency and playing for a new deal
Brandishing a captain's armband once more, Ian Evatt is enjoying his football almost as much as he enjoys being written off.
The centre-half, recently turned 35, has overcome an early season fitness battle to feature in all of Chesterfield’s last 19 matches.
Evatt and his team-mates haven’t conceded a goal in six hours of League One football at the Proact.
And having had doubts cast over his ability to cope with this level of football after 504 Football League appearances in 17 seasons, you can forgive him for having fun.
“I feel great, it’s a funny game football,” he said this week at the start of a fortnight’s break from fixtures.
“I was out for six months, missed the second half of last season and at the start of this season was playing with an injury people didn’t know I had.
“I wasn’t doing myself justice. I ended up getting left out, which was probably right, but when you’re not 100 per cent fit it’s not easy.
“But I got an opening and started, and have played a lot of football since.
“I’m not blowing my own trumpet, it’s just my opinion but I think I’ve been our most consistent player over the last couple of months.”
Earlier in the season it appeared as if even Evatt himself might be considering coming to terms with his body being less equipped to deal with the strain of regular football.
Others had made up their minds on however, and apparently those opinions reached the veteran defender, who has used them as motivation.
“I love being written off, I love it when people say I’m too old or past it,” he said.
“I love proving people wrong and hopefully I’m doing that now.
“I see myself playing for the next two or three seasons, hopefully with this club.
“I’m proving I can still play at a good level, at this level and I’m doing all I can to try and impress the manager and get a new contract.”
His aim to continue playing received another boost last week when Gary Caldwell handed him back the armband he lost in 2015.
It’s a role he cherishes, but says leadership is something he took personal responbility for even without the title of captain.
Evatt revealed: “We had the chat on the Friday, he pulled me to one side.
“He spoke to Sam Hird first because he was captain under Ritchie (Humphreys, caretaker manager) and said he was going to make me captain for the remainder of the season, which is an honour and a privilege.
“I felt a bit hard done to when it was taken off me and given to Sam Morsy.
“I’m the same with or without the armband though, I try to lead and set an example.
“Sam (Hird) does as well, he’s a leader on and off the pitch.
“We’ve got a lot of young lads and whenever you find yourselves in a relegation battle you need the senior lads to rally round them and keep them going.
“That’s my responsibility and the responsibility of the other senior players.”