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Evans ready to rise to United challenge
Published : 25 May 2010 14:21:17
Jonny Evans is armed with a new four-year Old Trafford contract as he prepares to tackle his biggest United challenge. The 22-year-old Northern Ireland international defender believes his Reds new deal has upped the ante and with Chris Smalling joining United from Fulham the task ahead will become an even bigger test. The contract was a great bonus and I was delighted to sign, Jonny told M.E.N. Sport. By the end of the four years, I would like to be a regular and one of the first names on the team sheet. It is a big year for me next season because having just signed a new contract the expectations will go up even higher. I am 22 and, having signed that new long term deal, I will no longer be classed as the young lad just coming into the squad. I will have been in the squad for two years and people will be expecting a lot of me. There will also be more competition with Chris Smalling coming to the club. But that is all good. The extra pressure won't worry me. I put pressure on myself as much as anyone else will. "I want to improve and become better so you have to put more pressure on yourself to perform consistently and be a more important figure in the team. This season Evans played 28 times in Sir Alex Ferguson's starting XI. In his breakthrough term last year he started 29 times. But the central defender ended up with regrets. It was a bit of a frustrating season both personally and in terms of the club being successful, he added. Evans frustration It was so frustrating for me because I picked up a few niggly injuries. What was so annoying was that with other players being out injured as well, like Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, there were chances to get in and get a few games under your belt. There were windows of opportunities that I couldn't take because I was sidelined. But I still think I made progress from my first season. I am still maturing but think I am getting better and learning more about myself and the game every week. I think my defending has improved all round. Evans was a Premier League title winner in his breakthrough term in 2008-09 and was on the bench in the Champions League final in Rome against Barcelona. But a quarter-final Euro exit and losing the title to Chelsea has sharpened appetites at Old Trafford. It is not nice seeing Chelsea winning the double or watching the Champions League final so it has made us hungrier for success. We will do everything we can to get the trophies back, said Jonny. Evans spoke to M.E.N. Sport at the presentation of the Charter Standard plaque to Brooklands Dragons who have seven youngsters at United's Academy. The fledgling junior club for Under-8s has just completed its inaugural season and has been awarded Charter status by the Cheshire FA. Head coach Steve Deighan said: The Charter Standard is the way forward for junior clubs because it proves that all the standards are achieved with the supervision of the County FA. It tells the community that you have achieved the standards with regards to child welfare. That is what is driving it. We have worked with the Cheshire FA and we are delighted to have been granted Charter status. It will attract more people to the club. It will open up opportunities for the club to go forward. It is important for parents to know that we have qualified coaches, qualified welfare officers and their children are in a safe and disciplined environment. Should Evans be first choice centre back for United next season? Have your say.