sport

Former Brentford favourite on why he couldn't quite believe his international call up

Evans was a Bees star with a penchant for spectacular goals in the early 00s

Former Bee: Paul Evans(Image: Getty Images)

Brentford legend Paul Evans was so surprised by his first international call-up he assumed he was about to be told he was being sold by the club.

The former midfielder, who made more than 150 appearances over three years for the Bees, made the revelation in an interview with Shrewsbury Town blog Breathe on 'em Salop .

It was the Shrews who then Brentford chief Ron Noades signed Evans from in March 1999, leaving his local club as he wanted to further his international ambitions with Wales.

Those ambitions were finally realised three years later, in March 2002, when Evans was called into Mark Hughes' squad for a home friendly against the Czech Republic.

Sliding in: Evans in typical action for Brentford(Image: Getty Images)

“I’ll never forget, we were just doing a double session on a Monday afternoon, and we’d finished that,” he said. “Then Steve Coppell comes in, he put his hand out to me and said 'congratulations'.

“I was looking at him and I was like, ‘what’s going on?’ I was coming to the end of my contract and I knew they were trying to sell me to get some money, and I was just like ‘have they sold me?’ He went 'you’ve been called up to the full Welsh squad', and I was just like ‘wow’.

“So I went home, got a suit, and took my boots from training and drove to Cardiff as soon as I could so they couldn’t change their mind. I even turned up and they were like ‘we weren’t expecting you until tomorrow morning’. It was amazing.”

In the event, Evans came on as a sub for Robbie Savage, playing the final 17 minutes of a goalless draw. Four days later, he was back in TW8 to help the Bees beat Stoke City in a crucial Division Two promotion clash.

The end: Evans' last game for Brentford - the 2002 Division Two Play Off Final(Image: Getty Images)

Evans would only add one more Welsh cap to that first one, again coming on as a sub, this time for Carl Robinson, in an away friendly against Croatia five months later – this time getting 20 minutes at the end.

By this time he was a Bradford City player having, like most of the bigger talents in Coppell's squad, left the Bees following their play-off final defeat to Stoke.

He would also go onto to play for Blackpool, Nottingham Forest, Rotherham, Swindon, Oxford, Halifax and Farlsey Celtic before hanging up his boots at the age of 34.

Now aged 43, he is currently working as a sports massage therapist with Brentford's Championship rivals, Leeds United – an unexpected career move which came about following a discussion with a physio friend.

As he is now: Evans at Leeds United

“He said that Sports Massage is something that’s going to be more and more in, with cycling and other sports such as football,” Evans added.

“I did some courses, I went to college, and I got some qualifications, and literally just stayed in football like that. I’ve been doing that ever since – it’s a bit different but I’m still involved and around football, so it’s good in one way.”

Despite being a title winner in his first year at Brentford and twice being voted into the PFA Team of the Year during his time at the club, it's his long-range goals Evans is best remembered for.

It was in his first full season with the Bees that he scored from the halfway line straight from kick off at home to Preston, then followed that with another missile from just outside the centre circle at Burnley the following weekend. Here's those goals to enjoy once more.

View full mobile page