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.
“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.
He's not doing too bad is he ? He is very tactically aware for someone so young, with excellent reading of the game. His mobility and pace are things people don't give him enough credit for. He's tough to beat when it comes to one-on-one situations. The only things I can fault him with are his distribution and positioning at times. Things game experience can fix and I'm sure with another season of 30-35 games under his belt he'll develop into one of the best defenders in the league. He's pretty much a potential complete package.
I hope Jonny can continue his development and turn into a fine player. Be nice to see in the future we continue the trend of youth graduates, and he could be a role model for others. Also said publicly how he dreams of being the future captain and we know he will be a loyal servant.
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