Jonny Evans strides onto the ball just past the centre line. It's the 45th minute of Manchester United vs Burnley and the score reads 0-0.
The last time Jonny Evans started for Manchester United, before this past Saturday, Louis Van Gaal was their manager, Angel di Maria was their winger, it had been just a season since they'd last lifted the Premier League and Vincent Kompany was sat across town captaining a Manchester City that was upsetting apple carts all over England.
A look up, and he has seen the run his captain has made. Bruno Fernandes has been making these runs all season, without anyone finding him, but that's not stopped him. If anyone epitomises 'try, try, try again', it's Fernandes. The run is timed to perfection, splitting the left centre back and the centre back neatly through the inside-left channel.
On Saturday, his manager is another Dutchman. This one a bit younger. Manchester United haven't won the league for ten seasons and counting. Manchester City are the absolute overlords of English football. Vincent Kompany is now sat across the dugout at Turf Moor, manager of Burnley.
The ball from Evans is sublime. It's essentially a chip, but a forty-yard one, and the weight on it is perfect. Fernandes slows down as the ball begins its descent and it lands perfectly on his right foot -- and Fernandes smashes a volley of great technical skill right into the far bottom corner. Manchester United 1 - 0 Burnley. Goal: Bruno Fernandes. Assist: Jonny Evans.
For many the mere fact that Evans is starting for United in late 2023 is alarming. On the wrong side of 35 and approaching what most professionals would consider their sunset years, Evans has been reliable but rarely much more for quite a few seasons and his inclusion in the playing XI is seen as symptomatic of everything that's gone wrong at the club over the past decade.
Yet, against Burnley, Evans showed just how good a footballer he remained. There were moments when he was beaten for sheer pace in behind him, but for the most part he read the game decently and defused what danger Burnley produced. In the 25th minute, he had a goal disallowed for a teammate (Rasmus Hojlund) being offside and interfering with the keeper; but the goal itself had been superbly taken. A little run and a proper leap that preceded a neat glancing header, the kind of set-piece goals United haven't scored for quite a bit now.
If he was a bit unlucky with that, there was no element of luck involved with his 45th minute assist. Fernandes won the plaudits for his deadlock breaking (and what turned out be winning) goal, but it was Evans that had laid the platform. After the match, Bruno would agree, walking over to Evans to hand him the man of the match trophy that the United captain had won.
Evans may be in the Manchester United squad as a fourth/fifth choice centre-back, but as this moment showed, the Carrington graduate is willing - and able - to step up when his club needs him to. For that, his assist is ESPN India's moment of the week.