Evans ready for fight for first-team place

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Manchester United defender Jonny Evans is prepared to fight for his place in Sir Alex Ferguson's plans, saying he would not deserve to be at the club if he wasn't.

The 23-year-old has made 48 league appearances for the Red Devils, impressing for the Old Trafford outfit when he deputised for Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic at the heart of the club's back line in 2008.

However, the Northern Ireland international's form last term failed to hit the same heights, with Chris Smalling - who joined the Red Devils from Fulham a year ago - rising above Evans in the pecking order.

Although defensive duo Wes Brown and John O'Shea have departed for Sunderland, the arrival of Phil Jones from Blackburn has further intensified competition for places at the back.

But Evans - currently on tour with the club in the United States - has insisted that he is ready for the challenge of forcing his way back into Ferguson's thoughts.

"I have always thought that being at a club like Manchester United, if you can't accept a challenge of someone wanting your spot, you don't deserve to be here," he said in Boston at a Special Olympics event organised in partnership with United's foundation.

"That is what Manchester United is all about. You are constantly being tested.

"It is down to you, whether you are good enough, or whether you are putting the effort in to play for the first team."

Despite winning a record 19th league crown, United ended last season in disappointing style following their comprehensive defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League final.

And Evans stated that the loss at Wembley has left the Red Devils hungry to avenge that setback and claim a fourth European title.

"That defeat will stick in the lads' heads," he said. "These lads have been so successful throughout their careers but they still remember defeats.

"I am sure they will have that at the back of their minds coming into the new season. Barcelona have set the standard. They have gone to another level.

"Maybe 10 years ago, when Manchester United went into Europe, there was a gap to bridge and we managed to do it. The challenge is there for us again. Hopefully we can get closer to them."