Date: 28th June 2007 at 7:56pm
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Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has admitted that competition for places will be even more fierce next season, but has vowed to fight for his place in the first team.

With the impending arrivals of Nani and Anderson, but more importantly Hargreaves, Carrick has admitted that he is not guaranteed a place in Utd`s first team next season, and that he faces a huge test next season to retain the place in the team, which he performed so admirably last campaign. Speaking to Inside United, Carrick said,

‘I want to stay here and achieve things here; this is the pinnacle of the game. They say the easy part is getting there and the hardest part’s staying there, so I’ve got a big challenge ahead.’

The Englishmen went on to say how he felt that playing alongside Paul Scholes last season brought his own game on to new levels, praising the 32 year old`s style and influence on the game.

‘Scholesy has been a massive influence. Just watching him every day lets you appreciate how good he is. If you ask anyone in the game who’s in the know, everyone says how good he is and how hard he is to play against. To have him on your team alongside you is great. He’s just an awesome player and one that I’m watching in training and learning from, and hopefully taking things from and trying to do the same.’

In an ideal world, both Scholes and Carrick would play alongside Hargreaves next season, however I believe we must concede that playing all three week in week out is impossible. I only hope the competition brings on Carrick`s game, as his performances last season were nothing short of immaculate, and a strong sign that he will become a Manchester United legend in years to come. Additionally, it will lead to a much stronger bench, something we have lacked in previous season (even last season, to a certain degree), and I`m sure there`s many teams that dream about having the luxury of placing players of the caliber of Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes and Owen Hargreaves on the bench!