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Manchester United Will Benefit From Evra vs Shaw Competition

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With Manchester United close to announcing Luke Shaw as a Manchester United player, many find it peculiar that the Red Devils extended Patrice Evra's contract after his departure was almost set in stone. However, if you want to train someone to be the best, you have to beat the best, and Patrice Evra has been one of the best left-back's in football over the past several years. Competition gives players a reason to play better in order to solidify their spot in the starting line-up. Patrice Evra might be 33-years-old but he plays as well as an 18-year-old Luke Shaw if not better.

Comparing their stats from this past season, Shaw and Evra were practically even in every category.

 Category Luke Shaw  Patrice Evra   Alexander Buttner
 Appearances  35  41  11
 Tackles per game  2.1  2.5  1.7
 Interceptions per game  1.1  1.7  1
 Fouls per game  0.8  1.2  0.9
 Clearances per game  3.5  5.3  2.7
 Offsides won per game  0.3  0.1  0
 Was dribbled per game  0.6  0.8   0.5
 Blocked shots per game  0.1  0.2  0.4
 Goals (total)
 0  2  0
 Assists (total)  4  0
 Shots per game 0.7   0.6  0.5
 Key Passes per game  1.1  0.4
 Dribbles per game 1.6   0.8  0.6
 Fouled per game 1.3   0.8  1.0
 Dispossessed per game 1.4   0.7  0.7
 Turnovers per game 0.9  0.7  0.5
 Average passes per game 40.1   37.5  28.9
 Pass success rate 79%   82.4%  86.5%
 Accurate crosses per game 0.8   0.7  0.4
 Accurate long balls per game 1.2   0.8  0.6

Patrice Evra and Luke Shaw have very similar playing styles as well. Both enjoy overlapping the wing and dribbling down the flank before sending in decent crosses. Shaw, however, needs to learn how to not lose those balls on a dribble. According to the statistics from last season, Shaw was dispossessed twice as many times per game as Evra. He also made twice as many runs down the wing.

On the defensive side Patrice Evra statistically had a better season. Evra had more tackles per game, interceptions per game, and clearances per game. All very important towards characterizing a solid defense. 

Luke Shaw is still young, and with youth comes inexperienced play. With his imminent arrival at Old Trafford, Shaw will battle it out with Patrice Evra from day one, allowing him to grow and become and elite full back. In a few years Luke Shaw may possibly be regarded as one of the best left-backs... if the Red Devils play their cards right.