Ben Amos will be leaving Manchester United this summer. The 24-year-olds contract at the Old Trafford club expires this summer and currently he is on a temporary loan deal with Bolton Wanderers, which expires towards the end of March, but could be extended again should Bolton manager Neil Lennon require his services for longer this season. Amos has been at the Theatre of Dreams since he was twelve, half of his life, so leaving will be something that could be difficult for him.
At the start of the season, Amos was third choice goalkeeper, behind David De Gea and Anders Lindegaard. The former Danish international goalkeeper was tipped to leave the club in the summer, which could have seen Amos play second fiddle to De Gea, which he has done during some league matches this season, never being utilised by manager Louis van Gaal. The arrival of Víctor Valdés during the January transfer window pushed Amos into fourth choice, which suggests he is not needed at the club.
Amos has been utilised by Warren Joyce in the U21 squad this season, but in a bid for first team football, Amos left on loan with Bolton Wanderers requiring his services after Ádám Bogdán was injured, so Amos played second fiddle to Andy Lonergan, who later became injured with Amos replacing him during the 4-1 defeat to Nottingham Forest and starting the next six matches. Amos has kept three clean sheets during those matches, winning three, drawing one and losing three, which is not a bad record.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News about his time at Manchester United, leading to his loan deal with Bolton and what is likely to happen this summer, Amos said:
“You could say experience is the biggest thing, I’ve come away. I’ve been with Van der Sar and people like that, seen how they handle themselves on and off the pitch. How they are as people and how they approach the game, because that’s a big thing.
“I’ve learnt loads of things, cherry-picking from different top goalkeepers, so that’s one benefit of not playing games but being at a big club.
“David De Gea is one of the best in the world, so it was up to me to go out and get some games. De Gea was bought for £20m (£17m) and I’m a young lad coming through the ranks.
“He had two years in La Liga playing out of his skin, so in terms of experience you’re behind straight away.
“It’s been difficult and I’ve had to really motivate myself every day. I’ve managed to that because, like most players, I want to play in the Premier League one day.
“I’m out of contract in the summer at United. We tied it in that way, so that I had the freedom of a free move, being 24 I can leave on a Bosman. That gives me a little bit more flexibility about where I can go.
“I’ve extended my deal at Bolton for another month. I don’t know what the manager’s plans are.
“When I’m asked to play, I just try to do my best for Bolton. People can come and watch me play. They’ve been watching me in the U21’s but it’s not the same level.
“I just want to be consistent now and do my best for Bolton.
“Thankfully we won against Millwall and a good couple of results in the next couple of games could give us a bit of space.”
Amos was given his first team debut in the League Cup on the 23rd September 2008 in a 3-1 victory over Middlesbrough. He then appeared in the same competition on the 26th October 2010 in a 3-2 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers, also appearing in the UEFA Champions League in December that year in a 1-1 draw with Valencia. The following season, Amos made four appearances in the first team, three in the League Cup in the 3-0 victory over Leeds United, 3-0 victory over Aldershot Town and the 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace. He also made his Barclays Premier League debut in a 2-0 victory over Stoke City, but never made the jump into the first team after that, and it looks like he never will.
Many will suggest that Amos is not good enough for Manchester United, that may be the case, but with David De Gea in the kind of for he has been in during the past two to three seasons, even Anders Lindegaard is struggling to get matches, especially this season. New signing Víctor Valdés is still waiting for his own debut for the club he signed an 18 month contract with two months ago, and it seems that he will need to wait longer for that debut. With Amos showing his skills in the Sky Bet Championship this season, I am sure he will be noticed by many clubs, especially as he will be a free agent in the summer.
Bolton Wanderers could be the club that Amos will settle with in the summer, both Ádám Bogdán and Andy Lonergan are out of contract in the summer, so Neil Lennon will need to find another goalkeeper, should neither of the pair sign a new contract before the expiration of their contracts. Amos will do well at that level, he may even be looked upon by the Championship sides fighting for the automatic play-off places in the second tier of English football this season. He is a good goalkeeper, maybe not United standard, but he will do well in the future.