It’s been an interesting pre-season so far for Derby County man George Evans.
The 24-year-old has flourished so far under new manager Phillip Cocu after playing the opening pre-season fixtures at the heart of the defence.
Evans impressed in central defence alongside Richard Keogh at the end of last season as he helped the Rams record a 2-0 victory over Bristol City at Ashton Gate.
He replaced the injured Fikayo Tomori as Derby recorded a valuable win in the race to finish in the Play-Off places.
And the new manager and his staff have been impressed with the former Manchester City youngster so far.
Evans has played all his pre-season minutes to date at the back and he says he is becoming accustomed to his new position.
“We talk every day and we are doing a lot of 11 Vs 11s,” he told RamsTV. “We are talking about small details, working on things and the manager might like me in that position.
“It’s definitely something that I like as well and I’m more than happy to do so. I just want to make sure I try and get as many games as possible and I do feel comfortable at centre back.
“I’m going to work really hard at that, improve and take it into the games. I’ve played midfield and defence before and I feel comfortable.
“I like how it’s panned out at the moment, keep that going and keep working hard. I need to keep improving at centre back and see where it takes me.”
After a stop-start 2018/19 campaign where he suffered injury setbacks, Evans has enjoyed a productive pre-season under Cocu.
His minutes over the three pre-season games so far has progressed. He played 45 minutes against Sarasota Metropolis, 60 against Bristol City and 80 against Burton Albion on Saturday.
And he has enjoyed working with Cocu so far.
“It’s been a tough pre-season,” he admitted.
“The gaffer has put across to us what he wants us to do and we have been working very hard on the training pitch. At the Burton game, we showed signs of what we want to do this season.
“Last year we played with a high pressing game and we like to play a lot of good football and there have been a lot of the same principles been taken on.
“It’s not much of a change but the gaffer his own little details that he wants different so each day we are working on that to make sure we improve in how he wants us to play.
“We played a lot of good football last season and as soon as we lose the ball, we want to win it straight back.
“The same principles stay with this manager so it’s similar but there are a few areas that he wants us to change so we need to listen, work hard and prove ourselves to get in that starting 11.”
Evans will be hoping for more minutes this evening as the Rams take on Spanish side Girona at Pride Park Stadium.
The Rams have three victories under their belts in pre-season so far and was pleased with Saturday’s 5-2 victory at the Pirelli Stadium against Burton.
“It was a good test,” Evans said. “It was our first game on English soil so it was nice. It was good to see a lot of fans turning up so it added a bit to the game as well.
“I thought we went on the pitch and showed what we can do and what we have been working on over in America and I thought we played some really good stuff at times.
“It was a good win and we are now looking forward to the next game against Girona.”