Star defender Patrice Evra admits he would probably never have played for Manchester United had it not been for Sandro Salvioni.

The little-known Italian coach was in charge of Nice during the 2000-01 campaign as Evra tried to make his mark on the left wing.

During a late-season injury crisis Salvioni ordered Evra to play in defence, much to the player's annoyance.

Despite frequent rows over the issue, Evra ended up getting a move to Monaco on the back of his impressive performances, featuring in a Champions League final before arriving at Old Trafford in a £5million deal during the 2006 January transfer window.

"When I first started out, I was an attacker," he recalled. "One day, when I was at Nice, the coach asked me to play left-back. I told him he was mad - so he told me I would be out of the team if I didn't.

"Thankfully it worked out because it enabled me to join Manchester United because one of the things Sir Alex Ferguson said to me when I arrived was that he liked my attacking play.

"First and foremost, I do now think of myself as a defender but I still like to go forward when I get the chance."