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David De Gea could remain at Manchester United for another ten years according to Peter Schmeichel

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel has backed current United number one, David De Gea to play on at the Old Trafford club for another decade. On Monday in the Premier League, the Spanish goalkeeper made his 400th appearance for United, beating Schmeichel’s record by two appearances, still 139 appearances behind Alex Stepney.

United signed De Gea from Atletico Madrid back in the summer of 2011 after Edwin van der Sar left the club after six years, leaving a void which De Gea soon started to fill. In recent years though, his form has not been the best which has seen him prone to some mistakes but in recent matches, despite a few errors, he has improved, although those reading this will be irate at errors made against Southampton.

De Gea will no doubt be challenged by Dean Henderson, who is currently close to the end of his second season on loan at Sheffield United, helping them win promotion from the Championship last season and push to finish in the top half of the Premier League table, currently seeing them in seventh place and on the cusp of securing European football.

Schmeichel reckons that De Gea’s appetitive for silverware continues to drive him on with United not winning anything since their UEFA Europa League trophy at the end of the 2016/17 season. This season, with the league already won by Liverpool, United have a chance to lift the Emirates FA Cup and the Europa League once again. Speaking to the United Review, Schmeichel said:

“There have been trophies over the last nine years and David will want more of those before he’s done.

“He would far rather pick up a few more winner’s medals than Player of the Year trophies, I’m certain.

“David’s young and could play on here for another 10 years.”

De Gea has kept 11 clean sheets in the Premier League so far the season and is currently trailing the best goalkeeper in the league, Burnley’s Nick Pope by three clean sheets. United will be seeking to improve that before the end of the season with their sights well on a place in the UEFA Champions League next season, which will mean they need to finish in the top four of the Premier League. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer feels that De Gea needs more trophies on his CV, saying:

“I don’t think he will be happy until he wins the bigger trophies. Yes, he’s won personal awards but David is not the type to care about that. I think he wants the team to lift big as well.

“Staying at Manchester United for this amount of time and not having won more is something he will feel is a black dot in his career.”

Peter Schmeichel suggests Dean Henderson stays at Sheffield United for another season; David De Gea tough to beat for number one position

Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel has given high flying goalkeeper Dean Henderson some advice ahead of the summer with many things for the 23-tear-old to think about for the remainder of his career. The goalkeeper has spent this season and last season at Sheffield United, proving himself in the Championship and the Premier League.

The former United goalkeeper, who helped the club wi the treble during the 1998/99 season, has seemingly run the rule over both Henderson and current United number one, David De Gea. The Spanish goalkeeper has made a fair few errors this season, including another against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League return on Friday evening, a 1-1 draw.

This season, Henderson has kept 11 clean sheets in the Premier League and is in joint top place with Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope, who could be a rival for Henderson in the bid to add pressure on England number one goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford. Schmeichel feels that Henderson should remain patient with De Gea still ahead of him at present.

Schmeichel spoke about Henderson in detail, giving the suggestion that the player should seek to sign on loan at Sheffield United for a third season, which could bring European football, with the Blades putting pressure on United for fifth place in the league this season, which could be UEFA Champions League football if Manchester City’s ban is upheld. Schmeichel said:

“We have one of the best goalkeepers in the world at Manchester United. There’s no sign that he’s going to leave the club, why would he? He already had the opportunity a couple of times.

“In the last six years he was Player of the Year four times. He’s done fantastic but the fact of the matter is there’s only one goalkeeper in the team.

“For every youngster and especially young goalkeepers there is so much that you need to learn when it comes to the toughest end of top football like the Champions League and international tournaments.

“You have to have so much experience and I see no harm in Dean Henderson continuing playing for Sheffield United. Every day he will learn something new.”

De Gea has a contract at United will will run until the summer of 2023, with the option of another year to be added and Henderson having a contract at the club until the summer of 2022, with the option of another year to be added. It is possible that Henderson is offered a new long-term contract before he is loaned out again for the 2020/21 season. Schmeichel concluded by saying:

“I know it sounds cold but we have David De Gea, who has been so fantastic for us.

“I don’t understand why anyone would think that’s a position that needs to change [right now]. Why would you rock the boat?

“The best players will take you to the next level.”

Peter Schmeichel ‘convinced’ that Paul Pogba will stay at Manchester United this summer

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel feels that French midfielder Paul Pogba will remain at the Old Trafford club this summer. There has been a lot of speculation linking the French FIFA World Cup winner for the last few years, linking him to Barcelona, Real Madrid and with a return to Juventus, the club he arrived back to United from.

It has been four years since the 27-year-old returned to United, a club he described as his destiny. However, the player announced that he wanted a new challenge last summer on a promotional tour of the Far East, which is something that never materialised last summer and may be stopped from happening this summer too.

Pogba returned to action after a spell on the sidelines with ankle injuries this season, the latter needing surgery and his recovering during the coronavirus pandemic, getting himself match fit over the past month or so and coming off the bench against Tottenham Hotspur, a match United drew 1-1 in, needing a win in their next match against Sheffield United.

The United treble winner feels that Pogba is ready to remain at United, possibly set out to achieve what he wanted to achieve when he returned to the club in the summer of 2016. He even thinks that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s man management skills could be a key factor in keeping the Frenchman this summer. Schmeichel said:

“I’m absolutely convinced he wants to stay. I think we’ll somebody, more of a player we saw a year ago.

“One thing is how he’s portrayed in the media for what he does and what he says himself, and another thing is what his agent is doing. And a completely different thing is what it’s really like.

“He wanted to come back to Manchester United, he wanted to come back. And he has got, like any other player at that level in the world, he’s got his pride. And I don’t think he wants to leave. I don’t think so.

“I think when Ole came, we straight away saw with Ole’s guidance and his knowledge with Paul, we saw precisely what he can give us. And that’s a lot.

“Unfortunately I don’t think he’s gotten great representation. He’s such a valuable asset so it’s great to shift him to another club, because that’s a lot of money to make.

“I think that if you have somebody telling you that in your ear at some point you’re bound to be confused. You’re a young player. All he should be content and focused on is playing.

“I hope with this period of being out of the game, I hope that with Ole’s management skills, he’s going to come back and love playing for Manchester United.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has created a team of leaders who are ready to be a force again, says Peter Schmeichel

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel has stated that he thinks the confusion at his old club has finally surpassed as his former teammate, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stated to assemble a group of ‘fearsome leaders’ to finally make the club challenge the greatest honours once more. For seven years post-Sir Alex Ferguson, United have stuttered.

United return to Premier League action on Friday evening, facing Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur in North London in a match the January signing Bruno Fernandes and newly recovered Paul Pogba could play together competitively for the first time, if the rumours of Pogba not starting the match are not true.

Schmeichel feels that the due are amongst the vocal stars in the current squad with the pair both strong minded and ready to get things done, depending on which Pogba actually turns up – I am hoping that it is the Pogba that sees playing for United as a dream and getting them firing once again, challenging the teams above them.

Schmeichel, now 56, won the Premier League five times with United before leaving the club for pastures new, which included Sporting Clube de Portugal, Manchester City and Aston Villa before having his gloves up permanently. He saw many leaders at United, including himself so could have a point here. Speaking about this, the United legend said:

“It is so nice to see all these leaders. There are four or five of them now — but it has not always been like that.

“It was just due to  lack of consistency from the top guy at United in previous years. The managers have had  different philosophies, signing different players.

“So there has been confusion over who United were  — but that is now all behind us. Some players signed in that period were probably not right for the club but I think Ole saw this and understood it.

“Fernandes has done well. What a great player. What a great personality. He comes across as a proper leader. I was at  Old Trafford when he made his debut against Wolves.

“He was giving directions, started talking to players around him, asked them to go in certain positions. Stuff you unfortunately do not see too much in modern-day football.

“And I believe the more leaders you have, the better your team  will be. Every successful team I played in had four, five, six or seven leaders and United now have a few.

“Harry Maguire has come into the club and  done well. He is club captain and  has grown immensely since he has had that responsibility. He is  a true leader.

“Fernandes has shown himself as a leader straight away, Paul Pogba has always been a leader. It is great to have him back.

“It has been a long, long season without him. You could argue the team has done really well without him — but  United is a club that wants to have the best players. He is one of the best  in the world.

“Marcus Rashford leads as well. You  see him getting more confident and what he has been doing off the pitch during the coronavirus crisis is amazing.”

It will be good to see what Solskjaer’s plans are at United. He has assembled a team capable of starting something, just needing a few more players in different positions to make it all work well. United are a work in progress but you can see the progression. Schmeichel also spoke about Marcus Rashford and what he has done whilst out of the game.

The 22-year-old has helped raise £20 million to help feed underprivileged children and has recently put pressure on the Government to continue helping to feed children on the poverty line whilst the schools are out this summer, which was initially rejected with the Government conducting a U-Turn, funding the plan instead, which is great. Schmeichel said:

“How many guys in his position have you seen do that? He has not lost touch with where he is from.

“That carries more value than the other guys we see pretend to be someone else. So, he is a leader. Fred has massively improved for United. But  Victor  Lindelof has also  done well.”

Concluding the interview, Schmeichel also spoke about Spurs, who are currently up against it in the Premier League, sitting eighth in the Premier League, four points adrift of United and looking likely, if they continue in the same for, to miss out on Europe altogether. Speaking about Spurs. Schmeichel said:

“They need to reach the Champions League. It will be easier to get  top players in. This is a developing period, rather than one having to win trophies”

Brazilian midfielder Fred has been instrumental to Manchester United’s season, says Peter Schmeichel

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel has hailed former teammate and current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for giving Brazilian midfielder Fred the platform to play an instrumental role at the club this season. Under Jose Mourinho, Fred did not have the best of times, seemingly scapegoated for the clubs demise.

However, since Solskjaer became the manager of the club, Fred has changed his fortunes at the club, looking like the midfielder he was tipped to be, raising his game considerably after having a long spell in the team because of injury. Schmeichel, who was speaking to CNN via Instagram Live, spoke about the Brazilian, saying:

“Fred has been, for me, absolutely instrumental in how well the club has done this season.

“He was always perfect for the club but he’s now been given playing time and the more time he’s been given, the more confidence he’s gained and for me, he’s been one of the great stories this season at Manchester United.

“Of course it’s down to Fred but it’s down to Ole for giving him that confidence. I like that.”

Ever since the start of the current season, which was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, which suspended world football in mid-March, Solskjaer has shown that he is willing to give chances to players who have not quite got there in terms of playability for various reasons, giving them a chance to show what they can do.

For Fred, this seems to have worked so far. This season, the Brazilian has made a total of 39 appearances, playing in the Premier League, the Carabao Cup, the UEFA Europa League, and the Emirates FA Cup, scoring two goals and four assists – all coming in the Europa League this season. Schmeichel, concluding his interview about Fred, said:

“I like the way he’s [Solskjaer] kind of introduced players that were already there but are now in the first team and are now playing well.

“He’s also brought all these values in. The players now know them. If you don’t share our values, there’s no place for you here. So you have to live up to his values.

“He’s bringing in his own culture and you can see it and it’s there and it’s brilliant.”

Peter Schmeichel told Gary Neville that he was not good enough and Steve Bruce ripped him to shreds – brutal

Manchester United legend and Class of 1992 graduate, Gary Neville has spoken recently about a torrid time at the Old Trafford club during his first season in the senior squad. The legendary right-back who helped United win eight Premier League titles, two UEFA Champions Leagues an Intercontinental Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup, amongst others.

It would seem that the young defender received a verbal backlash from goalkeeper and fellow United legend, Peter Schmeichel. Neville was just 17 at the time he made his debut on the 16 September 1992 against Torpedo Moscow in the first leg of the first round of the UEFA Cup at Old Trafford, a 0-0 draw.

Neville had replaced Paul Parker at the club after starring in the youth team with fellow graduates David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, although he had made the first team a long time before the others. Neville was constantly given a verbal dressing down, according to his comments, which seemingly helped his mental resolve as he did quite well.

It was not just Schmeichel who gave the right-back a dressing down, United captain, Steve Bruce was not impressed with what he saw either. You cannot blame them as they were professional footballers and seeking to return the glory days at the time, winning the inaugural FA Premier League title during the 1992/93 season. Speaking on The Football Show on Sky Sports, Neville said:

“The one that was hardest with me was [Peter] Schmeichel, he was brutal with me in that first year or two.

“Schmeichel was constant, every single day in training at me.

“He told me on the team day out, he didn’t think I was capable of replacing [Paul] Parker, nowhere near as good as him.

“It was maybe true as Parker was a very good defender.

“That back four of [Denis] Irwin, [Steve] Bruce, [Gary] Pallister and Parker had played two or three years and kept clean sheets.

“I was the first player to break into it. Schmeichel saw me as a risk and I was a risk in some ways.

“I didn’t see it as tough love at the time, I saw it as being brutal but it did toughen me up eventually.

“I realised the team wanted to win. Some days it was hard. I remember [Bruce] ripped me to shreds and I was thinking, ‘what’s going on here?’”

Neville spend 19 seasons at United and was the club captain from 2005 until 2011, replacing Roy Keane and seeing Nemanja Vidic take over from him. In total, Neville made 602 appearances at United, scoring a total of seven goals during his career, which was not his main outlet during matches, his composure, passion, dedication and aggressive tenacity was what made him the player he was.

Many may feel that Neville was bullied by his peers, this was not the case. I wonder what would have been said of social media was around back then. United were a team entering a rather successful period of the clubs history and, quote rightly, players wanted to be the best with their teammates being the best too.

Neville may have felt under the spotlight but Schmeichel and Bruce were actually giving him constructive criticism. These days, people seem to be praised for doing any job, whether they did a good job or a bad job. This is not learning or excelling. It is just expecting praise because you did a job. That is not going to make people better at all.

Many will disagree, but that is life. Not everyone has to sing from the same song sheet and not everyone will. Neville achieved something magnificent at United, winning eight Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups, three FA Community Shields, two Champions League trophies, one Intercontinental Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup, also winning 85 caps for England.

It’s all gone blue: How and how not to cross the divide

It is hard not to play for both Manchester United and Manchester City without being controversial or bringing unwanted attention to yourself. There have been many players who have crossed the divide and they have a negative reputation with United fans. However, there are also players who joined City that United fans will still respect and appreciate very much. MUFC Latest compares two players who joined City and the legacy they have left behind after joining City.

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Denis Law

The Scottish striker formed the Holy Trinity alongside George Best and Bobby Charlton in the 1960s. He is regarded as one of Manchester United’s greatest ever strikers scoring 237 in 404 appearances. Law was awarded a Ballon d’Or in 1964 whilst playing for Manchester United. The Aberdeen born forward arrived at Old Trafford in 1962 and left in 1973.

After beginning his career north of Manchester at Huddersfield Town in 1956, Law joined Manchester City in 1960. The striker enjoyed a great season for the Maine Road club and gained international attention. The following season in 1961, the player joined Torino but he would only last one season in Italy. This is not because of bad performances but because Manchester United came calling.

After a successful long-term career at United, the player returned to City for one season in 1973. He was involved in a controversial moment in a Manchester derby, he scored a back-heel goal that was labelled responsible for relegating United. However, this was not true and Manchester United would have been relegated either way as results in other games meant United were going down regardless.

To this day Denis Law is still King of the Stretford End and a statue of him is positioned in the Stretford End. Although he spent two seasons at United’s crosstown rivals, Law is still regarded very highly by United fans. He played in an era where United fans would go to Old Trafford one week and Maine Road the next, also vice versa for City fans. Ultimately, it would be hard to have a negative thought about Denis Law as a United fan due to the successful 11-year spell he had with the club.

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Peter Schmeichel

The Danish keeper is regarded as a United legend by many fans, however, to many local and match going fans he is seen differently. Schmeichel played a massive role in United’s era-defining success in the 1990s both with his goalkeeping abilities and leadership skills. The Great Dane joined United in 1991 and left after the club’s finest hour in 1999 winning the unprecedented treble.

Schmeichel made 294 appearances for Manchester United and won five Premier Leagues, three FA Cups, a Champions League, a Super Cup, a League Cup and four Charity Shields. In 2002 the Dane joined Manchester City.

Similarly, to Denis Law, he had an illustrious career at Old Trafford and had the respect of United fans regardless. However, it was how he acted that puts him in a different bracket to Denis Law. Law had always been respectful to United and seemed grateful, he also recognised United as his main club once his career was over.

Schmeichel was involved in numerous moments that would encourage United fans to think differently. When United took on City at Maine Road, Schmeichel approached Gary Neville in the tunnel to shake his hand but Neville declined. City went on to win the game and the Danish keeper was very expressive with celebrations. Another incident leaving United fans feeling sour with Schmeichel was when he was commentating on a Manchester derby. The former United keeper was referring to City as “we”, this obviously infuriated United fans. However, in recent years Schmeichel has talked very fondly of United and looks to rebuild his relationship with the club.

The main difference between these two players that have impacted their legacy at Old Trafford is how the acted. Denis Law obviously very loyal to United and appreciated the United crowd, he didn’t even celebrate when he scored in 1974. Very different to Schmeichel who produced a cart-wheel celebration when City beat United at Maine Road. These players weren’t the first to join City and they won’t be the last. If players who join City from United in the future they should take note of Denis Law more so than Peter Schmeichel.

Written by Shane Purcell

Trouble at the back – From Peter Schmeichel to Edwin van der Sar

The last season of Peter Schmeichel with Manchester United could not have been any more symbolic of the legacy he was leaving behind. United won the 1998-99 FA Premier League, the FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League, not only completing the treble but also writing in bold letters the kind of quality United was expecting from anyone who was going to inherit Schmeichel’s gloves. It was not going to be easy and easy, it wasn’t.

When Mark Bosnich was signed in 1999 as a successor to one of the greatest United goalkeepers, it was going to be his second time between the sticks in United colours, having already been part of the squad from 1988-1991. Having been highly successful for Aston Villa, the fans at Old Trafford were pinning a lot of hopes on him. But his second spell, even though brought success for the first team in the form of the Premier League and the Intercontinental Cup, did not do much wonder to his own career.

He was not exactly on good terms with the manager which was evident when Ferguson called him a “terrible professional” in his autobiography. After being the first choice goalkeeper for one year he was sidelined by the coming of the French international, Fabien Barthez and Bosnich eventually moved to Chelsea in 2001, after making 35 appearances for the Red Devils.

Raimond van der Gouw was at the club since 1996. He had arrived as a replacement for Tony Coton and had patiently played the second role to Peter Schmeichel till the arrival of Mark Bosnich. But even in that season, he was far from being the first choice goalkeeper. He had started the match only on 11 occasions as compared to Bosnich’s 22 in United’s title-winning campaign. The arrival of Barthez made the competition tougher than it already was. Having made only two substitute appearances in 2001/02 season, he moved to West Ham United in June 2002.

One can either look down and mock the shortest Premier League career ever or perhaps be curious about the £100,000 that was spent on Nick Culkin. His story is a testament to the fact that patience is not always good and yet, one cannot blame him for not leaving the United ranks during one of their most glorious runs ever, in hope of a place that was not to be. He made just one appearance during his five years at United, if it could be said so. That one appearance came against Arsenal and lasted for just two seconds, what with him having the last kick of the match and his only kick in United colours.

Culkin’s move to Queens Park Rangers was triggered by the arrival of Massimo Taibi. The Italian was bought for £4.5 million from Venezia in 1999, only to make four appearances during his time at United before returning to Italy in January 2000. Taibi’s career at United, if discussed at all, is synonymous with his gaffes against Liverpool and Southampton. While against the former, he went on to win the Man of the Match award, having made many saves after that unfortunate moment but for the latter, he was dubbed as “The Blind Venetian” by a newspaper. A 5-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea practically ended his career at Old Trafford.

Paul Rachubka, in spite of being a Manchester United Academy graduate, failed to cement his place in the first team. The American made just a single Premier League appearance, as he was first loaned out to Royal Antwerp and then to Oldham Athletic before finally moving to Charlton Athletic in 2002. He is currently associated with Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League.

Fabien Barthez, having won the World Cup and the Euros, seemed to be the permanent answer to the vacancy that was left behind by Schmeichel. He joined the Red Devils for £7.8 million in 2000 and went on to make 139 appearances for the club before returning to France. He was mostly known for his antics on the pitch and had become a crowd favourite during a phenomenal first season with the club in which United went on to win the FA Premier League for the third time in a row.

When Laurent Blanc joined United in 2001, the Barthez-Blanc head-kissing ritual had become a norm during the Champions League matches that season. One of Barthez’s antics included playing mind games by refusing to stand between the sticks during penalty kicks which resulted in a loss of concentration of the kick-taker and ensuing misses as had happened with Muzzy Izzet of Leicester City in November 2001.

Things began to go downhill when the same antics he was popular for began to hit back at him in the form of unnecessary goals in high-profile matches. The 2001/02 season marked the beginning of his end at United, even though he seemed to come back to form in the second half of the season after having a disastrous first half. Even though United won the 2002-03 Premier League, but it also implied the exit time for Barthez as he was blamed for the Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid.

Sir Alex had lost his patience with the Frenchman and Roy Carroll took guard for the final three games of the season. He was loaned out to Marseille during the 2003-04 season before finally moving to the same club in the next season.

‘F*** off! I have got a pub to run and goats to feed’, was reportedly Andy Goram’s response to Sir Alex’s phone call in March 2001, presuming it was an old friend pulling out a trick on him. Sir Alex had to call him again to convince him about the genuineness of the offer. He was being seen as a short-term solution due to the injury to both Barthez and van der Gouw. He had all but hung up his gloves, what with having opened a bar and having bought some livestock, when the offer from United came knocking at his doors. He made just two appearances for the club during his brief loan period.

Roy Carroll played 72 games for United after arriving from Wigan in July 2001 for an undisclosed sum. Even after getting a considerable number of starts for the team, he is most famous for his odd mishaps. “The goal that never was” against Tottenham Hotspur even though did not cost United the match, surely put question marks against his place in the United ranks. And then the blunder against Milan, which resulted in a 1-0 defeat turned that question mark into a full stop, as far as getting starts at United was concerned. Barthez’s presence during 2002-03 and Tim Howard’s arrival in 2003-04 had already made it difficult for him to start for United and was eventually released by the club upon the expiry of his contract in May 2005.

Ricardo’s debut in the Manchester United colours was against Blackburn in 2003 which is synonymous to his conceded penalty even before his first touch in the game. If that was unfortunate for the £1.5 million purchase from Real Valladolid, then the 25-yard kick which sailed over his head and the conceded penalty by him which resulted in a 3-0 defeat against Maccabi Haifa, all but marked his end at the club. His return after the loan period at Racing was not met with many starts for Manchester United. He finally moved to Osasuna in 2005 upon the arrival of Tim Howard, which pretty much signalled no more time between the sticks for him in United colours.

Tim Howard was signed in the middle of the 2003 MLS season for $4 million and went on to make 77 appearances for the club before he was loaned out to Everton before the 2006-07 season. He had a good start at the club and had some brilliant performances against Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City, including a decisive penalty save against Arsenal in the Community Shield. What left him shattered was the 2004 Champions League exit against Mourinho’s Porto, wherein he spilt a last-minute free kick resulting into the winning goal.

This was the very match Mourinho was referring to with his  “nothing new for the club” comment,  in the press conference after this year’s Champions League exit at the hands of Sevilla. Embarrassing? Yes. Even more so for the then United goalkeeper who never really regained his form while at the club. Howard’s second season was mostly marked by alternate strings of poor performances by him and by Carroll. Both his competitors at the club, Ricardo, and Carroll, were then released by the club in summer 2005. But soon after, a transfer from Fulham made the back-end a safe place again for Manchester United. That translated into Howard’s exit from the club in 2006.

It was Edwin van der Sar, the tall Dutch goalkeeper, who had come from Fulham to put an end to United’s search for a permanent answer to Schmeichel’s absence. The rest is history.

Written by Arijit Gupta

Red Icons: Peter Schmeichel – the great Dane

Peter Schmeichel was the man mountain between the sticks for Sir Alex Ferguson, pulling off remarkable saves and ensuring Manchester United’s last line of defence was every bit as solid as those in front of him.

Schmeichel joined United in 1991 from Danish side Brondby and went on to spend eight illustrious years under Sir Alex Ferguson. He won virtually everything with United, Premier League winners’ medals, FA Cup winners’ medals, and a Champions League Winners’ medal in his final season at the club.

Nicknamed the ‘Great Dane’, he was renowned for pulling off remarkable saves which looked destined for goal. In addition, he was one of the most commanding Goalkeepers to have graced Old Trafford, blasting his defenders for having given the opposition the chance in the first place. He absolutely had the ability to back up his loud nature on the pitch, and it earned him the respect of his team-mates. Gary Neville said of him:

“If he wasn’t a world-class goalkeeper, then I don’t know what is.”

Aged 27, he joined United for £500,000, which was no small fee at the time. However, despite being a relative unknown, Ferguson knew he had his man between the posts who would be the foundations of a solid defence, calling him the:

“Bargain of the century.”

He went on to prove it, as he won the Euros with Denmark in 1992 and was voted the seventh greatest goalkeeper of the century. Some would have had him higher than this and perhaps rightly so; his importance to the United side was illustrated by the struggle to replace his towering presence after his departure. It took until the signing of Edwin Van Der Saar from Fulham for United to find another permanent first-choice keeper who instilled confidence into the defence.

If Schmeichel instilled confidence into his defence, he also occasionally struck fear into the minds of the opposition defence; if United were ever in need of a goal the Dane would become a major presence in the penalty area from corners. Although he only ever scored a singular goal during his United career, his presence was a major factor in Teddy Sheringham scoring the equaliser in the 1999 Champions League Final against Bayern Munich. This was Schmeichel’s farewell game for the Reds, and he captained the side on the evening they completed the Treble, some way to bow out.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for Schmeichel during his United career though. He was accused of racially abusing Arsenal striker Ian Wright, though both eventually drew a line under this as Schmeichel categorically denied the charge. It wasn’t just with members of the opposition that he had his issues though. He and Roy Keane had a feisty relationship, which Keane admits ended up in the Irishman headbutting Schmeichel, leaving him with a black eye.

Perhaps his biggest feud though came with Sir Alex himself. In a game against Liverpool in January 1994, United squandered a 3-0 lead to only come away from Anfield with a point. After the game Ferguson targeted Schmeichel for poor goal-kicks, which the United keeper felt was unwarranted. This led to a fiery dispute and Schmeichel was sacked, albeit only briefly. After privately apologising to his team-mates, Sir Alex decided to allow him to return. Though it may seem a harsh move, it evidently paid dividends as the Great Dane went on to be one of the most successful goalkeepers in United’s history.

Written by Rob Potter

My Favourite Three: Sir Alex Ferguson signings; Schmeichel, Keane, Cantona

Sir Alex Ferguson signed around 105 players during his time as Manchester United manager. Some were good, some were bad and some were that good they named him twice (Eric Djemba-Djemba). Over the last few days, some of the writers have talked about their favourite three Manchester United signings which were brought in by Ferguson. I am a little old school with my choices as these were the players I grew up watching, the ones who I feel made United the dominating club they were in the 1990’s. Ferguson signed some true stars including Cristiano Ronaldo, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Wayne Rooney (the old one not the new one) and many, many more. but these three are my favourites…

Peter Schmeichel

The Danish goalkeeper signed for Manchester United from Brøndby on the 6th August 1991 for a fee of only £505,000, which considering the player he became at United, it was a true bargain. Schmeichel did it all with United, becoming one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League, if not the best, which could still be the case today. His son, Kasper Schmeichel plays for Leicester City, winning the Premier League himself during the 2015/16 season. Schmeichel played a total of 393 matches for United, scoring one goal, which is not something you would expect from a goalkeeper. The Danish giant won the Premier League five times, lifted three FA Cup trophies, won the League Cup once, four FA Charity Shields, one UEFA Super Cup and a UEFA Champions League title, after winning the treble with United in his final season, which was such a fairytale ending. After United, Schmeichel played for Sporting CP, Aston Villa and Manchester City before hanging up his gloves. He was an ambassador for United until recently, vacating that position. Schmeichel will also be considered one of the players who made Manchester United the team they were in the 1990’s.

Roy Keane

Roy Keane, his relationship with Ferguson may have been bittersweet, but there is no taking away what the player achieved for Manchester United. Keane was Mr Manchester United in the midfield, a player who brought the fear into the opposition, a player not scared by anyone, especially Patrick Vieira – ‘I’ll see you out there’. Keane was signed by Ferguson from Nottingham Forest for just £3.75 million, a British record transfer at the time. The Irishman was a tough tackler, a player which never gave up and dug deep to achieve what he helped United achieve. In the treble-winning season, Keane suffered the unimaginable – he missed the UEFA Champions League final due to suspension along with Paul Scholes, which was a big blow for United, but something they gon on with and overcame, going 1-0 down in the first six minutes, but scoring two goals through Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, both from corners taken by David Beckham. Keane left United in December 2005 after an interview he did with MUTV, playing his first match for Celtic in January 2006. Keane had a testimonial with United, against Celtic with United winning 1-0, Keane playing a half for each of the clubs. Keane was a problem to replace for United with Michael Carrick taking his old number, being the best replacement for him, despite not being in any way similar to the Irishman, filling in the void in his own way.

Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona is my favourite Manchester United player. He just had it all and it was a shame United did not keep him for longer. He could have been one of the best players of his time, which he probably was, but his legendary status could have been much better. Signed from Leeds United for just £1.2 million with the chairman of the club, Bill Fotherby telephoning United chairman Martin Edwards to see if he could sign left-back Denis Irwin. Ferguson was in a meeting with Edwards at the time, both being in the same room. They both agreed that Irwin was not for sale but Ferguson needed a striker and Cantona’s availability tested with Fotherby having to ask manager Howard Wilkinson and the transfer was concluded a few days later. The prolific Frenchman spent just five seasons at United before retiring from the game. A kung-fu kick against Crystal Palace supporter Matthew Simmons saw him being banned from the game. The same Eric Cantona never returned. He famously said the following at a press conference; “When the seagulls follow the trawler, they expect sardines to be thrown into the sea.” That puzzled many and the man left the game standing still, never to return to the pitch as a player again. Cantona made 185 appearances for United, scoring 82 goals. Not the most prolific, but Cantona was a genius, one which Leeds United missed out on, which makes it so much better.

copyright: JW