Former Man United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar insists David de Gea is not irreplaceable

Sport360 staff 13/09/2019
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Former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has insisted that David de Gea is not an irreplaceable figure at the club.

De Gea, 28, will be allowed to talk to other clubs in January and leave on a free in the summer if a contract extension is not signed.

Van der Sar claimed that De Gea is not irreplaceable and there are several goalkeepers in the Premier League who could step up for the role.

“The decision needs to come at a certain point,” Van der Sar said, according to The Independent.

“It takes a long time now, so it’s a case of ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but I’m not a director of United.

“Other goalkeepers can also fill the gap. There are a few Premier League goalkeepers playing at the club who can also take the step up.

“I was 34 when I went to United. So there are lots of opportunities there.”

The Dutchman also defended De Gea’s poor form and maintained that it’s temporary.

“No. That happened to me, it happened to Ryan Giggs also, to everyone,” Van der Sar insisted.

“Your form differs. He has been for so long at such a high level, so at a certain point it gets noticed, maybe not the first two times, but then people start to write about it. But he’ll be fine. He’s a great goalkeeper.”

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Injury-hit Manchester United could be without seven first-team players against Leicester, with Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial among those ruled out by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Returning to winning ways against Brendan Rodgers’ in-form side at Old Trafford looked a tough enough task without a lengthy injury list that threatens to derail their afternoon.

Luke Shaw, Diogo Dalot and Eric Bailly remain sidelined, while Martial continues to be laid low with a thigh issue and Pogba has yet to recover from an ankle injury.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Jesse Lingard are doubts after withdrawing from the England squad with a back complaint and illness respectively, leaving Solskjaer with a selection headache.

“Well, the treatment room’s been busy and still is,” the United manager said. “So, we don’t really know who is going to be available.

“There’s maybe Aaron, maybe Jesse and I think maybe that’s it from the ones that had to pull out, but I can’t promise those two will be available either.

“Leicester is always a tough game as a team, a club wanting to push into the top four. They’ve got good players, a very good manager, a proven top manager.

“So, Brendan’s teams always play good football and we know we’ve got to play well to deserve the three points.”

Pogba’s absence looks a particularly big blow for United given the ongoing question marks over the midfield.

Only Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne has created more chances in open play this season than the World Cup winner, who pulled out of the France squad with an ankle issue sustained in the 1-1 draw at Southampton before the international break.

“Pogba won’t be fit, no – unless he’s had a miraculous recovery overnight from yesterday to today or maybe from tonight until tomorrow,” Solskjaer said.

“He’s not been ready to do 100 per cent training, no. We hope more can be ready for West Ham next week, and Paul and Anthony are in that category.

“I think they’ll be ready for then and can’t say more than that, really.”

It certainly looks like David De Gea is in for a busy afternoon – a player who continues to be the subject of speculation as contract extension talks drag on.

“I want David to stay here,” Solskjaer added. “He knows that and David’s, for me, the best goalkeeper in the world.

“We’ve seen that over the years, and I hope that I can make sure that he’ll finish his career at Man United at the highest level.

“And hopefully… there’s been loads of talks, loads of discussions between David and the club and hopefully we can get it done.”

Keeping it tight at the back will be key and Harry Maguire will be desperate to keep his former club at bay.

Saturday’s match will be the first time the 26-year-old has faced former club Leicester since completing his £80million summer switch to United, becoming the most expensive defender in history.

“I think he’s been brilliant,” Solskjaer said. “I think he’s come into the dressing room, been a leader, he’s also obviously a leader on the pitch. You can see that.

“I’m sure he’s looking forward to playing against his old team, but now he’s here, he is going to be a big part of the future of this club.

“That’s why we know so much about Leicester as well because we watched him enough to know that he’s the guy we wanted, that’s why we spent the money we did on him. Leicester didn’t want to lose him.”

Asked if he is a potential United captain, the United manager said: “He’s definitely a character and personality that can be captain of a big club, yeah.

“In the dressing room he’s a leader both by performances, presence, stature and behaviour. He’s a character you’d say you’d like to follow. Some are technical leaders, some are leaders by voice, and he’s got the lot, really.”

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Edwin Van Der Sar retains ambitions for Ajax amid talk of Man United return

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Van Der Sar remains committed to the Ajax job.

Edwin Van Der Sar has spoken of his ambitions for Ajax amid rumours linking him with a return to Manchester United as technical director.

The former United goalkeeper, who is now the chief executive at the Dutch club, is reportedly the prime target as the Old Trafford outfit continue their long search to fill the crucial off-field post.

United are thought to want to bring in a footballing figure to oversee their transfer policy.

Van Der Sar, 48, has played a key role in Ajax’s resurgence in recent years, which included reaching the Champions League semi-finals last season.

But the Dutchman did not fuel speculation linking him with United when speaking to reporters after playing in former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany’s testimonial at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

Van Der Sar, who played for United from 2005-11, said: “I am enjoying my time at Ajax. I’ve got a different role – chief executive.

“I am really looking forward to bringing Ajax back to the European top level – that we probably touched last year – and to make sure we get the best opportunity to stay there.”

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