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Friday 16 Jun 2023
Jonny Evans awarded MBE by the King

Northern Ireland defender Jonny Evans has been awarded an MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours List.

The 35-year-old, who captained his country as he earned his 101st cap in a UEFA Euro 2024 qualifier against Denmark tonight, has been recognised for services to football in Northern Ireland.

Evans said it was “a really nice thing” to be awarded an MBE by His Majesty King Charles III.

It made me feel very proud, especially when I saw that it was in recognition of my contribution to association football in Northern Ireland

He explained: “When I got the letter through the door and it had the Royal seal on the back I was a bit shocked, but it was also amazing.

“It made me feel very proud, especially when I saw that it was in recognition of my contribution to association football in Northern Ireland.

“It brought it home that playing more than 100 times for my country, and playing for so long for Northern Ireland, has been so good. I represented everyone in the country and had many good times along the way.”

He also revealed the Evans family circle are delighted for him and he is looking forward to the investiture, a venue and date for which has still to be confirmed.

“It will be a really special day and one that we will really enjoy,” the Leicester City defender added.

Irish FA President Conrad Kirkwood said: “Many congratulations to Jonny on being recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours List.

“He has been a terrific servant to football in Northern Ireland and this award is richly deserved.”

Evans made his senior debut aged just 18 years and 246 days in Northern Ireland’s now famous 3-2 win over Spain at Windsor Park on 6 September 2006.

Seventy-five of Evans’ caps for Northern Ireland have been in competitive matches. He has appeared in 32 Euro qualifying and finals games and 30 World Cup qualifiers, while another 13 caps have come in the UEFA Nations League. The remaining 26 games have all been international friendlies.

Born in Belfast and raised in Newtownabbey, the former Belfast High School pupil began his distinguished playing career in the youth set-up at Manchester United in 2004.

During almost a decade as part of United’s first team he won the UEFA Champions League, three Premier League titles, the League Cup twice and the FIFA World Club Cup.

While on United’s books he had loan spells with Sunderland, where he picked up an EFL Championship winner’s medal, and with Royal Antwerp in Belgium.

The defender signed for West Bromwich Albion in August 2015 before switching to Leicester City three years later. He won the FA Cup with the Foxes in 2021.

Evans, who moved to England in his early teens to be part of the Manchester United Academy, was also capped at U21 level for Northern Ireland, the last of his three appearances coming just five days before he made his debut for the senior team against Spain in Belfast.

And before that he clocked up eight appearances for the Northern Ireland Under-17 team.