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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Campbell 'sticking around'

After making his first league start for the Reds against Newcastle, Fraizer Campbell says he is “sticking around” for more first-team opportunities, despite interest from other clubs.

For Campbell, the experience of playing alongside Wayne Rooney in front of 75,000 fans at Old Trafford is everything he has worked for in his fledgling career, and reported interested from former loan club Hull City won't lure him away.

“It’s difficult to put into words what it felt like,” he said. “It’s great. It’s what I’ve been working for ever since I joined this club so it was great to get out there. I hope to get more chances in the team, I’ll be sticking around for a bit.”

Playing against Newcastle was a bittersweet moment for the 20-year-old striker. Named in the starting line-up for the first time in the Premier League, Campbell turned in a real livewire display up front. Despite being held to a draw by Kevin Keegan’s side, the Huddersfield-born forward relished the experience.

“Obviously on your debut you wanted everything to go well, but I really enjoyed myself and I think we were unlucky not to get the result that we deserved,” he told MUTV.

Campbell was denied a goal to cap his impressive display by Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given, whose unorthodox save stopped a stunning first-half header.

“He (Given) was trying his best to upset me,” Campbell said. “It happened so quickly, I didn’t see how he saved it but a few people told me afterwards that it hit him in the face. That’s the way it goes sometimes.

“We responded brilliantly to their goal, coming back to score ourselves. We took over the game there and I think we should have come away with the three points after that.

“A draw isn't the end of the world. Not losing your first game of the season stands you in good stead for the rest of the campaign.

"Hopefully we can go on to repeat some of the things United achieved last season.”

Carrick out for two weeks

Michael Carrick will miss the next two weeks of the season after picking up an ankle injury in the 1-1 draw against Newcastle.

The midfielder, who will also sit out England's friendly with the Czech Republic on Wednesday, sustained the injury in the first half and was replaced by John O'Shea.

Ryan Giggs, one of United's most penetrative players on a frustrating opening day against the Magpies, was also forced off in the second half.

Boss Sir Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports: "Carrick has an ankle injury. It’s swollen up quite badly and he will be out for about two weeks.

"Ryan has a hamstring injury. It was disappointing to get those injuries on top of the injuries we had anyway."

United went into the game without Carlos Tevez, who is back in Argentina after a family bereavement, while Fraizer Campbell did not complete 90 minutes and Wayne Rooney looked less than 100% fit after his recent virus.

Ferguson added: "Tevez will be back next week and available for the Portsmouth match, and Rooney will be much sharper having played this game.

"I thought in the second half it started to go for him. Unfortunately Fraizer Campbell picked up a knock and he had to come off as well."

Manchester United Vs. Portsmouth Match Report

The champions were left frustrated at Old Trafford as Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle held the Reds to a 1-1 draw on the opening weekend of the season.

Having gone 0-1 down to Obafemi Martins’ 22nd-minute opener, the Reds responded instantly through Darren Fletcher. However, United were unable to make the most of large periods of dominance over the 90 minutes.

This is a fixture that has traditionally produced a glut of goals - 11 in two games for the Reds last season - but it wasn't to be the case on Sunday.

Several key players were missing so this is far from a disastrous start to the Reds’ title defence. And, but for some loose marking for Martins’ goal, United could easily have walked away with all three points. On the positive side, there was a highly promising first start for Fraizer Campbell up front alongside Wayne Rooney.

Sir Alex approached the game with his attacking options significantly curtailed. Cristiano Ronaldo and Louis Saha are both out injured, while Nani is suspended for the first two games of the campaign. Rooney’s return from a virus eased the problem, but there was a further blow before kick-off when it was confirmed Carlos Tevez would miss the match after returning to Argentina following a family bereavement.

It presented 20-year-old Huddersfield-born striker Campbell with his first competitive start for the Reds.

Despite the enforced changes, it didn’t alter United's attacking approach. Campbell, for one, was intent on grasping his opportunity with both hands. He almost grabbed a seventh minute opener after a brilliant Rooney cross. The young striker’s powerful header was stopped, somewhat unsuspectingly, by goalkeeper Shay Given’s head.

The champions kept on knocking, but Given was repellent to everything thrown at him. In one attacking move, following nice work from Campbell and Darren Fletcher - playing wide right – Given denied Rooney and Paul Scholes (twice) with close-range saves.

United looked slick going forward and typically sturdy at the back. But on 22 minutes, after successive Newcastle corners, Kevin Keegan’s men took their surprise lead. Martins was unchallenged as he rose highest to head the ball past Edwin van der Sar from six yards.

Sir Alex will have been disappointed with the marking, but delighted with United's instant retaliation. The Reds immediately went hunting for the goal the team’s earlier play had deserved. Giggs sent in an inviting low cross from the left side of the box and it got the glancing touch it needed from Fletcher to take the ball past Given.

Carrick was forced off with an ankle injury shortly afterwards, and where in the first half United had put Newcastle under consistent pressure, the second half lacked any real rhythm. Campbell remained lively and forced a good save from Given on 56 minutes with a low, left-footed drive.

The pressing for a second goal with Scholes and Rooney both having long-range efforts, while a Vidic header rebounded off the bar. But the breakthrough didn't arrive and the longer the match went on, the more the Reds seemed to miss the pace and penetration from wide areas that Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani provide.

That point was exacerbated when Giggs went off injured and Sir Alex was forced to reshuffle his pack again. The fact that three players made league debuts or first starts is indication enough that the team is not yet at full strength.

Deep into injury time United were given one last shot at claiming all three points. Substitute Rafael, another league debutant, drew a foul from Butt on the edge of the area. Rooney curled his free-kick round the Newcastle wall, but it went the wrong side of the post. A 1-1 draw isn’t the ideal starting point for the champions' title defence, but United didn’t get off to a flier last season and it didn’t prove prohibitive come the end of the season. This time it's different, though. Next up in the league are away matches against Portsmouth, Liverpool and Chelsea; it won't get any easier.

Team Line-ups

Manchester United: Van der Sar; Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Fletcher, Carrick (O’Shea 25), Scholes, Giggs (c) (Possebon, 63); Rooney, Campbell (Rafael, 80).
Subs not used: Kusczak, Neville, J.Evans, Gibson.
Booked: Campbell, Brown, Rooney

Newcastle United: Given; Beye, Coloccini, Taylor, N’Zogbia; Milner, Guthrie, Butt (c), Gutierrez, Duff; Martin.
Subs not used: Harper, Enrique, Geremi, Smith, Edgar, Bassong, Donaldson.

Attendance: 75,512


Manchester United Vs. Newcastle United Highlights Video Clip

Manchester United [1 - 1] Newcastle United (Premiere League)
22' [0 - 1] O. Martins
24' [1 - 1] D. Fletcher