Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher says he thrives on the challenge of going head-to-head with the best playmakers Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool have to offer. The 25-year-old - who has made more than 140 league appearances for the Red Devils since progressing from the club's acclaimed youth ranks - has become an integral component in Sir Alex Ferguson's side with his tireless box-to-box displays. And the Scottish international has revealed that he revels in his opportunity to test himself against some of English football's greats, as well as posing them some serious questions of his own.
"I love challenging myself against all the best players and a lot of them play in the Premiership," he says in the new edition of the Manchester United fanzine United We Stand.
"I watch how good they are, but when we play them I think to myself ‘Right, I’m going to see how good you really are. [Cesc] Fabregas, [Frank] Lampard and [Steven] Gerrard, I’m going to get against you and see how you like it'.
"And when you’ve not got the ball I’m still going to get about you and see how you like it.
"I’m going to ask you: ‘Do you fancy it? Do you like getting kicked? Do you like the fact that I am going to be at you for the whole 90 minutes?
"As soon as you get the ball I am going to be in your face. You are not going to like it one bit. And when we have the ball I am going to run you into the corner and you’re going to follow me. Are you ready for that? Because that’s what’s going to happen.’"
Fletcher will be aiming to get the Premier League champions' title hopes back on track against Everton on Saturday following consecutive away defeats to Liverpool and Chelsea. And he admits that he holds the Blues' vice-captain Lampard in the highest esteem.
"Lampard is the one who stands out in the Premiership.
"His movement is outstanding for such a big lad. He’s fit, runs all day, but if you turn your back and he gets blindside of you he’s gone.
"You have to be so aware of him for the whole game, concentrating 100 percent.
"You can’t watch the ball; you have to watch the player. Lose your concentration and switch off and he will punish you." FourFourTwo.com - More to read: BLOGS: Andy Mitten - Confessions of a Correspondentcomments