Manchester United defender Patrice Evra claims his omission from France's 2006 World Cup squad has had a positive effect on his career.

The 26-year-old told L'Equipe: "I have to make my presence felt either in Manchester or with France but I don't want to burn myself out.

"Before Slovakia in August it had been nearly two years since I had been called up. It was good for me and I think it was my best match for France. I had some good criticism and I have to continue this way."

Evra admitted being left out of France's journey to the 2006 World Cup final, where they lost on penalties to Italy, had hurt him - but served as useful motivation.

"That's what gave me my determination," he said. "But it was a tough blow never having played in a World Cup. It hurt me seeing my team-mates on TV. I said to myself 'Pat, this year it's make-or-break'.

"I worked like a madman and I did weights work which I never did before because I considered football to be mainly a ball game.

"But to do well in England you need strong legs. I am not the same Evra I was when I started at Manchester."