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Player Of The Last Ten Years Poll, Round One: Jonny Evans Vs John O'Shea

Two men with Manchester United connections, both central defenders with a massive impact on the team go head to head to see who goes through to the next round in what might be one of the toughest clashes yet!

Chris Brunskill

Jonny Evans

Put simply, Sunderland's recent history would not have taken the course it did were it not for Jonny Evans. Arriving amid little fanfare at the start of 2007, he, along with a certain Danny Simpson, helped transform Roy Keane's side from outside candidates for promotion into a unstoppable force bound for the Premier League.

Evans was a class above anyone else in that side - and, arguably, the rest of the division - of 2006/07. He even managed to make Nyron Nosworthy look like a footballer, not just in that promotion winning season, but also the following term when he returned for another six months to ensure the club weren't relegated at the first attempt yet again.

It is little surprise that he has gone on to win league titles and other accolades. A calmer presence in central defence than Sunderland have had for many a year, Evans oozed quality and his reading of the game was sensational. A phenomenal loan signing who helped lay the groundwork for what has now proven to be the club's second longest stint in the top division in their history. (CW)

John O'Shea

The signing of John O'Shea was arguably Steve Bruce's final positive act as Sunderland manager. When the Irishman arrived in the summer of 2011, he was joined by several other players who have offered little more than mediocrity during their time on Wearside. Many of them are likely to be shifted out of the club this summer. O'Shea, however, is one of the few worth keeping.

Although Lee Cattermole is club captain, his injuries and suspensions mean it is a title in name only. O'Shea has led the Lads out onto the pitch on numerous occasions in his absence and is the real leader of the team. With rumours of Cattermole being sold, it's likely the ex Manchester Utd defender will take the armband permanently.

It would be a wise decision, as O'Shea has proved time and again that he is a natural leader. In fact, you could argue he was the only competent central defender available last season, with the likes of Cuellar, Bramble and Kilgallon all looking incapable of performing at the highest level.

His marshaling of the back four aside, he has also put in a number of colossal performances at the heart of the defence, proving to be a good ball winner on the deck and in the air. For example, in the 1-1 draw at St James' Park in 2012, he put in a man of the match display, which kept the Mags at bay until the very death.

He has years of big game experience and once famously nutmegged Figo. In a red and white shirt, we have more modest expectations of him, but they are expectations he has comfortably met. (CC)


Be sure to make your vote count and send one of these two through to the next round. Make your voice heard below, because you only have until 11pm (GMT) tonight to get your vote in...

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