Tag Anders Lindegaard

Tag Anders Lindegaard

de Gea starts as Fergie urges ‘keeper patience

Ed July 20, 2011 Tags: , Opinion 18 comments

Manchester United’s new €20 million goalkeeper David de Gea could start his first match for the club against Seattle Sounders on Thursday morning but manager Sir Alex Ferguson has warned that fans may need to be patient with the 20-year-old former Atlético de Madrid player. The player joined training with his new colleagues this week but the Spaniard will face a challenge from Anders Lindegaard for United’s goalkeeping position warned Ferguson.

Ferguson spoke ahead of United’s second match of the US tour, with the Reds facing MLS champions Sounders in the Pacific north-west. While de Gea will play his first United match at CenturyLink Field, Ferguson says the Madrid-born ‘keeper must adjust both to life in the Old Trafford spotlight and the rigours of Premier League football.

It had appeared unthinkable that the United manager would leave  his expensive new acquisition on the bench come the start of the Premier League season in just over three weeks, but Ferguson can also use Lindegaard and Ben Amos on tour in the States. Indeed, 26-year-old Dane Lindegaard started against New England Revolution last Wednesday, with Tomasz Kuszczak left in Manchester to close a move away from the club.

“The only area where we may have to be patient is in the goalkeeping position,” Ferguson told reporters in Seattle on Tuesday.

“De Gea is only 20, he’s young. He’s played in the Spanish league for a couple of years, but it’s not the English league. I think he’ll need time to settle in, but the potential is enormous. It’s absolutely unbelievable, the potential the boy has got. We’ve also got Anders Lindegaard, so we may get a challenge for them both to accept, but in time the boy De Gea will make it his position, there’s no doubt about that.”

Ferguson may consider allowing de Gea time to settle into the club as the new season begins, despite the player’s hefty price tag, which makes the 20-year-old Spaniard the second most expensive goalkeeper in history. It is, perhaps, a risky strategy with Lindegaard also inexperienced at the highest level after a journeyman career to date.

Ferguson’s words also recall the damaging stand-off between Tim Howard and Roy Carroll in 2004/5 before Edwin van der Sar joined from Fulham. The Northern Irishman started 34 games in all competitions, with Howard between the sticks for 27 but neither settled into the role, seemingly undermined and not inspired by competition.

For his part Lindegaard has shown admirable patience since joining the club in January. Sidelined first by van der Sar’s consistency in the Dutchman’s final season, and then by a knee injury, Lindegaard has waited more than six months for an opportunity. The Dane is relishing the challenge.

“The boss told me when I came that he doesn’t care how you look, what your name is, your price tag or what your religion is because, if you’re good enough, you’re going to play,” Lindegaard said earlier this week.

“That’s the same with all the places at Manchester United. The best man plays and that’s how it is and how it should be. There’s been a lot of talk about De Gea, but my focus isn’t on him because I won’t gain anything from that. My focus is what I can do something about, and that’s playing games.

“I didn’t come to pick my nose or to sit on the bench and watch football as a privileged fan. I’m here to play and make my way and earn my respect. Edwin had a huge name at United and earned his way to where he was. He was a legend here and one of the top two goalkeepers ever to play for the club.

“I guess him retiring makes the spot available and it’s the most attractive goalkeeping job in the world. It’s the job everybody wants and I’m no different.”

Lindegaard impressed against Revolution last week but is likely to warm the bench as United begins the second of a five match tour. The squad, including Ferguson’s three ‘keepers, spent a week of training and preparation at Nike’s headquarters in Oregon before moving on to Seattle today.

de Gea’s relaxed work out with Eric Steele on Tuesday included instructions in rudimentary Spanish from the veteran coach, with the youngster yet to learn English. It is a challenge the club will correct quickly, with communication between Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and the ‘keeper essential.

yet despite Ferguson’s warning that de Gea may not claim the number one shirt from August, and concerns about how the youngster will settle in England, the Scot has little doubt about his new ‘keeper’s talent.

“Youth, age, it doesn’t matter when you have the ability of a goalkeeper like de Gea has,” added the United manager last week.

“He’s young, he’s quick and he has fantastic presence and composure. His use of the ball is outstanding. All of these plus points are things that don’t go away. He’s got these natural things.”

It’s a claim that United supporters will review for the first time in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Reds keeping options open

Ed April 21, 2011 Tags: , , Opinion 24 comments

Anders Lindegaard says he is up for the challenge of becoming Manchester United’s new full-time goalkeeper next season but what kind of competition will the Dane face? With Atletico Madrid’s David De Gea reportedly unsure about a move to England, and Schalke’s Manuel Neuer certain to join Bayern Munich, United’s options in the transfer market are now more limited. It leaves open the prospect that Lindegaard, and not an expensive new recruit, could be Edwin van der Sar’s Old Trafford successor.

Lindegaard, a £3.5 million January purchase from Norwegian club Aalesund , started just two FA Cup games for United before being struck down by a knee injury last month. In the meantime United is stepping up the pursuit of De Gea, for whom the Reds are reportedly prepared to pay the player’s contract buy-out clause of €20 million. However, with the Spaniard apparently reluctant to leave the safe confines of La Liga and the trail now cold on Neuer, United could feasibly shift focus to third-choice Maarten Stekelenburg, or further down the now extensive short-list.

The developments raise the prospect of United failing to secure one of the world’s leading ‘keepers in the wake of van der  Sar’s departure; the mistake the club made in 1999 when Peter Schmeichel retired to the warmer climes of Portugal and the Reds brought in free-transfer Mark Bosnich.

Lindegaard, who has four caps for Denmark, is apparently unconcerned about the potential for competition, with the 27-year-old saying he will prove himself at Old Trafford and aims to become Sir Alex Ferguson’s number one.

“The question is more complex than just a yes or no answer,” said Lindegaard, who underwent a knee operation in March.

“There are many factors to consider but it is, of course a goal. I don’t think about [other ‘keepers coming to the club] that’s not on my table and I can’t say one thing or another about it. The only thing I can do I show myself and prove to everyone that I should be the first-choice ‘keeper.”

Whether Lindegaard is the new van der Sar, or simply replaces the departing Tomasz Kuszack, owes more to United’s purchasing strategy than the player’s talent though. While De Gea is seemingly the club’s first choice, United’s senior management faces a dilemma should Ferguson not claim his man. Seek a less talented alternate or wait, trusting Lindegaard to hold the fort.

Meanwhile, there is no little irony in United’s fixture with Schalke next week. Neuer’s team has found form under new coach Ralf Ranglick, although there is no chance the 24-year old will remain in Gelsenkirchen next season. Indeed, with the news leaking out Bayern supporters jeered their new player this weekend, holding aloft banners proclaiming “No Neuer” during the side’s German cup fixture. There is, after all, no love lost between Neuer’s current and future clubs.

“I wanted to be honest and explain my decision,” a visibly upset Neuer told reporters in Gelsenkirchen. “I want to develop further and take a new big step in my career.”

That Bayern had let news of Neuer’s capture known in ‘FC Hollywood’s’ typical less-than-subtle manner forced the 24-year-old’s hand.

There are alternatives though, not least the talented Rene Adler, who is so desperate for a move to United that the 26-year-old apparently has an Old Trafford exit clause in his contract. Or perhaps Udinese‘s Slovenian Samir Handanović, who has impressed in Serie A this season, or Raul Patricio the Portugal number one whom Sporting Lisbon seem only to happy to sell. The list of tabloid reportage on supposed targets is, as always, lengthy.

Yet the question remains, if De Gea is United’s first choice, will the club settle for second best? Indeed, should it? The answer may not be to Lindegaard’s liking, although as the Dane says – it’s ‘not on his table.’

Stoppers on the Reds’ list

David de Gea, 20, Atletico Madrid – the Spanish under-21 international is unsure about whether to leave his home town club, while the club has demanded he commit his future to Atletico or leave. May yet conceivably sign a new deal at the Vincente Calderon rather than move abroad at a tender age.

Manuel Neuer, 24, Schalke – declared his future is already decided, with Bayern director Uli Hoeness’ less-than-subtle brag this week pointing the way to a €21 million move to southern Germany.

Maarten Stekelenburg, 28, Ajax – the Dutch international is available and willing but do United’s scouts rate the World Cup finalist? Although United coach Rene Muelenstein reportedly said the giant Ajax stopper is the club’s “first choice” it appears to be a smokescreen.

Igor Akinfeev, 24, CSKA Moscow – apparently unimpressed with the Russian’s stature, United’s gaze wondered away from the talented youngster some time ago.

Hugo Lloris, 27, Olympique Lyonnais – French World Cup ‘keeper Lloris has consistently impressed in the Champions League but would come with a heavy price tag. United is a very unlikely buyer.

Samir Handanović, 26, Udinese – Slovenian of Bosnian decent, Handanović’s slow burning career now seems ready for the big time. Not a big name, but available at a reasonable price.

Rui Patrício, 23, Sporting Lisbon – brilliant but raw, Sporting will happily cash in on the player who has only recently made the Portugal national team but missed out on the World Cup.

Rene Adler, 26, Bayer Leverkusen – openly seeking a move to Old Trafford according to reports but United will only move for the German international if other options fall through.

Reds set to confirm £3.5m Lindegaard with De Gea on horizon

Ed November 18, 2010 Tags: , , Opinion 40 comments

Manchester United will seal a £3.5 million deal for Danish goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard in the next few days, with the player moving to Old Trafford in January, according to reports today. Lindegaard, currently on the books of Norwegian Tippeligaen outfit Aalesunds FK, is the first of two possible goalkeeping acquisitions before next summer.

United expect Edwin van der Sar to retire and number two Tomasz Kuszazck is likely to leave the club, with first team opportunities limited.

Aalesunds’ representatives were seen at Old Trafford today, although United ceo David Gill was absent at a Football Association board meeting in London. However, with the Norwegian club keen to push through a deal, formalities might conclude before the weekend. Last night Lindegaard appeared to bid farewell to his colleagues.

“I don’t know if I have played my last match for Aalesund,” Lindegaard told Sporten.dk.

“My plan is to move on now. You have got to be a very good goalkeeper to get sold these days.”

Lindegaard, 26, has just appeared in just under 100 professional games in a less than stellar career to date. However, the Dane has made astonishing progress over the past year. Having been used mainly as a back-up for the first six seasons as a pro, Lindegaard looked to be drifting out of the professional game.

Indeed, the ‘keeper was originally offered to Aalesunds on trial, and after impressing during an 18-game loan spell from Danish side OB Odense, he permanently signed for the Western Norwegian outfit. Somewhat ironically, former Red Roy Carroll’s arrival at OB signalled Lindegaard’s departure.

Aalesunds finished 4th in the Tippeligaen last season and won the Norwegian cup for the first time in the club’s short history in 2009.

Tor-Kristian Karlsen, the football consultant and scout familiar to many on social-networking site Twitter, described the player as a “good old fashion goalkeeper, nothing flash, not really a great footballer but suits English football.”

He is a “punt for first choice, more than adequate for second or third and it won’t have been an expensive deal,” he added.

Glowing reports of Lindegaard’s performances earned the 6’4″ stopper a first call-up to the national team this season, making his international début for Denmark in September, which has now extended to four caps. Lindegaard kept a clean sheet in last night’s friendly international match against the Czech Republic, which ended 0-0.

Despite Lindegaard’s growing stature it is not thought he will be the only goalkeeping acqusition at Old Trafford, as United seek to minimise the disruption when van der Sar quits in June 2011.

Mindful of the botched attempt to replace Peter Schmeichel in 1999, United goalkeeping coach Eric Steele has watched Lindegaard on no less than five occasions this season together with a raft of other talent throughout Europe.

When Schmeichel semi-retired to the sunnier climes of Portugal after the 1999 Champions League final, the club embarked on a road of mediocrity, signing at least seven ‘first choice’ goalkeepers – and others – before eventually settling on van der Sar in summer 2005. It came six years too late.

Indeed, United has watched David de Gea, Manuel Neuer, Hugo Lloris and Igor Akinfeev in particular over the past year. Few supporters would have picked out Lindegaard though, essentially a journeyman stopper for the best part of an underwhelming career.

However, United is also rumoured to be on the brink of signing David de Gea, the brilliant Spain Under-21 international, from Atlético Madrid in a deal worth €17.5 million. Madrid-based sports ‘paper Marca today said the only remaining issue is whether the 20-year-old joins United is January or next summer.

This view was dismissed by Atlético president Enrique Cerezo today, with the Spanish side notoriously hard-nosed about transfer negotiations.

“Nobody has talked to us. Nor do I have a clue about this matter,” Cerezo claimed.

“We hope that David de Gea remains an Atlético Madrid player for a very long time.”

de Gea started last season as Atléti’s third choice but injuries and form forced the youngster into the spotlight during a run to the Europa League final. Such were the Madrid-born player’s performances that he made Spain’s provisional 30-man World Cup squad last summer, eventually losing out to more experienced rivals.

Keeper no place to take risks

Ed October 5, 2010 Tags: , Opinion 32 comments

Reports that Manchester United’s goalkeeping coach Eric Steele has watched Aalesunds stopper Anders Lindegaard on no less than five occasions raises questions over Edwin van der Sar’s successor. Mindful of the botched attempt to replace Peter Schmeichel, could United once again be tempted to take a risk on a key position?

With 39-year-old van der Sar increasingly likely to retire next summer, United will need to bring in a new first choice stopper. Ben Amos, 18, is not yet ready for the first team and Tomasz Kuszczak surely not good enough.

Supporters have debated the merits of ‘keepers from David de Gea, the brilliant Spain Under-21 international, to Manuel Neuer, Hugo Lloris and Igor Akinfeev. Few would have picked out Lindegaard though, essentially a journeyman stopper for the best part of an underwhelming career.

Should United bid, as reports now suggest is likely, it is a choice way out of left field.

Lindegaard, a 26-year-old Danish ‘keeper with just over 70 professional games in his less than stellar career, has made astonishing progress over the past year. Having been used mainly as a substitute for the first six seasons as a pro, Lindegaard looked to be drifting out of the professional game.

Indeed, the ‘keeper was originally offered to Norwegian Tippeligaen side Aalesunds on trial, and after impressing during an 18-game loan spell from Danish side OB Odense, he permanently signed for the mid-ranked side. Aalesunds finished 13th in the Tippeligaen last season but won the Norwegian cup for the first time in the club’s short history.

Glowing reports of Lindegaard’s performances earned the 6’4″ stopper a first call-up to the national team this season, making his international début for Denmark in September.

Growing as his stature might be, should United follow through with a bid for Lindegaard in the January window then the club will be taking a huge punt on van der Sar’s succession.

Supporters can no doubt point to the surprise signing of Schmeichel himself, but at 26 and already an established international, the great Dane was far less of a shot in the dark.

United has been here before of course. When Schmeichel semi-retired to the sunnier climes of Portugal after the 1999 Champions League final, the club embarked on a road of mediocrity, signing at least seven ‘first choice’ goalkeepers – and plenty of others to boot – before eventually settling on van der Sar in summer 2005. It came six years too late.

Ferguson’s choices in the position after Schmeichel’s departure ranged from the inconsistent Frenchman Fabian Barthez – sometimes brilliant, often far too eccentric – to the laughably hapless £4.5 million Massimo Taibi. The Italian was such a huge embarrassment for Ferguson and the club that United shipped the player out after just four games, never to be spoken of again.

Meanwhile, American Tim Howard initially excelled but eventually suffered from a chronic case of nerves before being sold down the East Lancs Road to Everton. Roy Carroll was never good enough to be a ‘keeper of the very highest standard, and Ben Foster failed to take his personal chance last season.

Cold sweats form when the horror show that was Andy ‘two’ Gorams, Mark Bosnich, and Ricardo is mentioned.

A repeat of the post-99 fiasco is the gamble United will take should the club go for Lindegaard, however good the Dane may become. At 26, the player is no youngster and despite playing for one of the continent’s smaller clubs, will not benefit from a move to England if it is only to reside in the reserves.

United certainly don’t need another squad ‘keeper next season either unless the club is also planning for Kuszczak’s departure.

Little to nothing is known of Lindegaard’s ability to play on the biggest stage, no matter how many times United’s coaching staff has done its due diligence. Crowds in Norway average below 10,000 and Aalesunds was knocked out of this season’s Europa League by Motherwell. It’s no preparation for the rigours of the Premier League.

Not that anything is settled of course, with the club having watched all of Europe’s best ‘keepers in the past year. While only Akinfeev was effectively ruled out, Ferguson along with Steele personally watched De Gea a fortnight ago.

Lloris and Neuer will prove undoubtedly expensive – perhaps too much so for the Glazer family’s tastes. Meanwhile brilliant though De Gea is, at just 19-years-old the Atletico Madrid player is perhaps equally perilous.

This is, after all, a key acquisition. Whomever eventually joins the club after van der Sar hangs up his gloves will need to perform from the off. Goalkeepers, as Taibi will stand testament, are rarely given time to make mistakes in the Old Trafford cauldron.