Brendan Rodgers hoping Jonny Evans can stay fit and emulate Thiago Silva

Evans is fit again for Leicester after a hamstring injury.

Jonny Evans is fit again for Leicester’s trip to Manchester United (Mike Egerton/PA)

By Nick Mashiter, PA

Brendan Rodgers believes Jonny Evans can be Leicester’s Silva lining for years to come.

The 34-year-old Northern Ireland international is fit again after a hamstring injury ahead of Saturday’s trip to Manchester United.

Evans left Old Trafford for West Brom in 2015 and joined the Foxes for just £3.5million three years later.

He has been plagued by injuries in the last 12 months, including a foot injury which forced him to come off early in Leicester’s FA Cup final win over Chelsea last year.

But Foxes boss Rodgers feels as long as Evans can manage his fitness issues he can follow Chelsea’s Thiago Silva in excelling in the Premier League for seasons to come.

He said: “I look at Thiago Silva at 37, what a player, so who’s to say Jonny can’t do that if he’s still got that hunger and determination?

“He’s at that level of mentality, top-level thinking, but it’s just trying to manage it.

“In the last 12 months he’s not been 100 per cent fit as much as he would have liked. He’s had really unfortunate injuries. He has tried everything he can to get back.

“He’s a warrior, he has an old school mentality where he wants to play and be there for you. Hopefully in the next period he can stay fit and healthy.”

Rodgers also believes United regret letting Evans leave seven years ago, with the centre-back having won three Premier League titles and the Champions League with the Red Devils after coming through the youth system.

He said: “I know how United feel because I’ve spoken to the staff enough there. Jonny is a Manchester United player. We’re blessed to have someone like him here because you have a top player who has played at the highest level and understands the standards.

“He has come through the system there and Jonny is a humble enough guy to say he had a few injuries and maybe it was the right time to (leave).

“But you only have to look at his performance level to know they would absolutely love to have someone like him fully fit and playing at centre-half.”

Evans joined up with Northern Ireland and played 63 minutes in their 3-1 friendly win over Luxembourg last week, allowing him to boost his fitness for the Foxes.

Rodgers added: “For the experienced players it’s the games. Jonny has a lot of miles on the clock in terms of training but it’s really the games. That’s why I wanted him to go away to Northern Ireland because he can manage himself through it as well.

“It’s the same with both, whether it’s a young player or senior player you have to have caution and because of how this season has gone (with Leicester’s injury record).

“Now we are getting players back you are seeing the level of performance pick up again. We have to keep it going that way, what is important to that is having our best players available.”

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