Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Fergie happy with Manchester United's goalkeeping options

Sir Alex Ferguson is convinced Ben Foster and Tomasz Kuszczak are both capable of filling Edwin van der Sar's shoes during his enforced absence through injury.

That's why the Manchester United manager has ruled out bringing in a more experienced goalkeeper with the Dutchman expected to be sidelined for up to 10 weeks as his broken fingers heal.

Ferguson has yet to name his preferred choice against Chelsea in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday but insisted: "I have no interest in anyone else. I am definitely happy with what I have got.

"Strangely Ben Amos also broke a finger training with England's youth team, so he is out of the question but we can also call on Tom Heaton."

Ferguson would not be drawn on whether he would be naming a regular starter between the posts while Van der Sar recovers. Both Foster and Kuszczak played a half in the 2-0 victory against Valencia in midweek.

"It depends on performances really," said the Old Trafford boss. "If you have watched the games Ben and Tomasz have played, Tomasz has had more activity and therefore more saves to make. But I will speak to both of them about the situation.

"We have a selection dilemma as to who plays in goal on Sunday. It is not an easy one for me."

Ferguson will be without three key defenders against Chelsea and confirmed that Nemanja Vidic will miss the start of the Barclays Premier League season.

Vidic has been ruled out of the Shield showpiece and the following game with Birmingham because of a calf injury.

Wes Brown is also sidelined this weekend with a thigh problem but is expected back for the opening league match while Gary Neville is unavailable because of a groin strain.

Ferguson said: "Neither Wes nor Nemanja have long-term injuries. I would expect Wes to be fit for the game a week on Sunday.

"As for Vidic he pulled his calf in the warm-up in Munich (against Bayern Munich) and is two weeks away.

"Gary is doing a little bit of training and coming on fine but I do not think he will make Sunday."

Ferguson believes his players are ahead of schedule in terms of fitness as they head for the national stadium. They are looking to retain the trophy after defeating Portsmouth on penalties last season.

He said: "Over the years we have treated the Shield as a barometer for players' fitness. We felt certain players needed games. I am not looking at it that way now.

"I feel the players' fitness is very good. They've all had the appropriate minutes on the clock so all those involved on Sunday will be at a good level.

"We should be able to give a good account of ourselves. When you play against Chelsea you want to win as pride comes into it. We will try to do that."

Ferguson has taken heart from the pre-season programme of playing in Asia - although the Indonesia leg was cancelled - and in the Audi Cup in Germany.

He added: "It was our best pre-season in terms of going to the Far East because it is never easy going there in terms of recovery.

"We did not spend too long in the one place and that helped. Possibly not going to Indonesia was a blessing for us.

"The four days we spent in Munich on the way back gave us time to recover. Also the training facilities were better, so it worked well for us."

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