France coach Didier Deschamps has told Patrice Evra he would be wasting his time if he tries to win back French public opinion.
Ever since being singled out as one of the ringleaders of the players' strike at the 2010 World Cup, Evra, 31, has been highly unpopular among his compatriots.
Deschamps believes the Manchester United defender, who was given a five-match international ban by the French FA for his role as team captain in the 'bus of shame' incident in Knysna, will never win back the fans' affection, and should not even try. "He'll always have public opinion against him," Deschamps said in an interview with L'Equipe. "He knows that, I told him that. He can't do anything. He'll go to the end of his career with that. Him and the others [involved in South Africa].
"I told them not to fight it. I don't want him and the others to waste their energy in a losing battle." Deschamps was Evra's coach for all but the final three months of the full-back's three-and-a-half year stint at Monaco, and acknowledged that the defender is not as indifferent to the public's feelings towards him as it may seem. "How could he not suffer? You can't insulate yourself from that. Who wants to be hated or insulted? Nobody, but he can't turn the clock back."
The 1998 World Cup and EURO 2000 winner insisted it is Evra's pedigree, and not their shared past at Monaco, which has earned the player a place in the national side. "Don't think that I make things easy for Patrice. I've known him since he was very young," Deschamps said. "But you mustn't forget that he's one of very few players who play at a club of the level of Manchester United, with 50-match seasons, and he's captained them at times, too."