BBC football pundit Garth Crooks has praised Manchester United defender Jonny Evans following his assured performance against Liverpool on Saturday.

The 24-year-old has on occasions come under heavy criticism for some of his performances for Manchester United with some critics suggesting the Northern Ireland international does not have the pedigree to thrive at Old Trafford.

Despite some of Evans' detractors, the centre-half was a key performer during Manchester United's crucial win at the weekend, and Crooks believes the player has shown great strides in his game this season.

"I never thought that Evans was a Manchester United player." Crooks told the BBC. "That said, I have watched him steadily mature into a calm, dependable centre-half under Sir Alex Ferguson and he was outstanding in defence against Liverpool - particularly in the early exchanges when tensions were running high."

Echoing the sentiments of the aforementioned Football Focus pundit, Evans' Manchester United teammate Rio Ferdinand believes his young centre-back partner is greatly appreciated by everyone at Old Trafford.

"Jonny was fantastic," Ferdinand told The Daily Mail. "A lot of the stuff that has been said about Jonny is way off the mark.

He is appreciated by everyone in the squad."