Howard won't settle for No 2

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Manchester United keeper Tim Howard is relishing another battle for his place at Old Trafford next season.

The United States international could even be handed a starting slot ahead of Roy Carroll for Saturday's FA Cup final against Arsenal, according to some reports, as Sir Alex Ferguson continues to debate who should be his number one.

Even if the United boss moves into the transfer market to bring a new goalkeeper to the club, with the likes of Antti Niemi, Paul Robinson, Carlos Kameni and Carlo Cudicini among the names being linked with a move, Howard told Sports Illustrated he signed his new contract with a view to playing regular first team football.

"I know the things I need to do," he told SI.com. "I know what the manager expects of me.

"It's for me to sort out. I think coming back from this weekend's game and looking forward to the pre-season and next year, if I put things right then there's no question I can get the experience in those games [to further his career] at United.

"I'm not talking out of turn, I think that's the truth. If they go into the transfer market, they go into the transfer market.

"I've signed a new contract, that's a big plus, but one of the downs of being at such a massive club is they are capable of going into the transfer market any given year and picking and choosing what they want.

"But you accept that as part of the business of being at such a big club.

"As far as I know, I have been told I'll get as fair a shot as anyone else coming in when we return for camp. There's no question about that.

"I didn't sign this new deal with the intent of saying 'I can't wait to be a number two'. Had the writing been on the wall and they said 'You're not our guy, but you're a decent back-up goalkeeper', I would never have put pen-to-paper.

"That would be just silly."

Howard also spoke briefly about Malcolm Glazer's takeover of the club, although he knows little about his fellow countryman.

"Fortunately, or unfortunately, it's a done deal," said the former New York/New Jersey MetroStars number one. "I don't have much of an opinion only because I'm not very educated on the subject.

"I've learned a long time ago, if you're not educated on something just shut your mouth. As it's been more in the press, I've tried to gain more information, but I still don't know all the background.

"I just play. Naturally, there's a connection [in that they are both American so the other players ask about Glazer]. Had he been French, I'm sure they would have asked the French players.

"They asked me about it, and all I can say is I don't really know. He is American but America is a huge country and he doesn't own the team I support [Howard follows New York Giants].

"I probably know as much as the other players."