Football

Great Dane making United claim

Lindegaard is yet to lose in a United shirt. (©GettyImages)
Lindegaard is yet to lose in a United shirt. (©GettyImages).

Manchester United spent £18 million on a goalkeeper this summer, with David de Gea drafted in to replace Edwin Van der Sar as the No.1 at Old Trafford.

Anders Lindegaard's arrival was a much more low-key affair, with a £3.5 million fee agreed between the Red Devils and Aalesund in November 2010. The move became official in January, and an FA Cup debut against Southampton at the end of the month followed.

An appearance against Crawley Town came three weeks later in the fifth round of the competition, but a knee injury in March ended the Danish international's competitive efforts for the season.

His return to action has been nothing short of spectacular this season, with two Barclays Premier League clean sheets against Norwich City and Sunderland going alongside another blank, against Otelul Galati, in the Champions League.

The 1-1 draw with Benfica is September was arguably his best performance in a United shirt, and came after a handful of mistakes from his Spanish rival at Old Trafford.

"I'm not here to pick my nose," when asked post-match in Portugal if he wanted to be first choice keeper.

"I'm satisfied with my own performance but I'm sad I didn't save the goal."

When questioned on the matter himself, Ferguson reacted angrily and jumped to the defence of the former Atletico Madrid starlet.

"I don't know why you ask these questions. You're just looking for stupid, little things." The fact that Kelly Cates, daughter of Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, had raised the issue over the first choice stopper, was a dream for the British press.

The question remains valid though, and not because of previous errors from De Gea. In truth, the 21-year-old has done little wrong since errors against Manchester City in the FA Community Shield, West Bromwich Albion on the opening day and Arsenal in the Barclays Premier League.

Lindegaard has, in many ways, forced Ferguson's hand over the goalkeeping situation at the club, with the Scot acknowledging that he has two keepers who can share duties this season.

"We were always getting to the moment when we were going to share. There are opportunities to spread that load because coming over to the English game, it's such a competitive intense league for a young goalkeeper," said Fergie post-Benfica.

"There will come a time when I need to give him (De Gea) a break. This was a good moment."

It's a rarity in modern football for goalkeepers to be used on rotation, with the common football philosophy suggesting that a solid defence should consist of a solid core built around its goalkeeper.

The fact that Lindegaard is getting a chance at all in the Barclays Premier League shows two things - that De Gea is still learning the ropes of English football and that his 'back-up' is more than capable of playing at the highest level.

Whilst the Spaniard is still expected to get the nod for 'big games' this term, particularly in the league, 27-year-old Lindegaard has shown on several occasions now that he's ready to answer the call of his manager, and it should come a few times more if he keeps his current form.

Topics:
Football
Premier League
Anders Lindegaard
Manchester United
David de Gea

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