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Champions League
Reports and news from the Champions League.
I’m not here to pick my nose!

I’m not here to pick my nose is quickly becoming Anders Lindegaard’s trademark quote. The big Dane used it once again after putting in an excellent display against Benfica on Wednesday night in the Champions League and defiantly stated that he would push David De Gea all the way for the number one spot.

When Sir Alex Ferguson was asked by ITV’s Kelly Cates after the game whether or not Lindegaard’s display had given him a selection dilemma ahead of Sunday’s crunch match with Chelsea, Ferguson scoffed at the question chastising Dalglish/the media for always ‘asking stupid questions’ and ‘looking for little pieces of rubbish’. As funny as seeing Kenny Dalglish’s offspring stopped in her tracks on national television was I think Ferguson would have given a different answer had  it not been for the recent witch-hunt instigated by parts of the media against David De Gea.

Lindegaard put in a brilliant display and arguably showcased the most solid goalkeeping performance at Manchester United so far this season. Had David De Gea not had the odd blip here and there I would imagine Sir Alex would have concurred with Dalglish’s sentiments in order to put pressure on the current number one. However the current situation prevented that and Ferguson wants to keep the pressure completely off De Gea by assuring him his place against Chelsea and I have no doubt that he will start.

Despite this public backing of De Gea surely Lindegaard’s performance will have given the Scot food for thought in private. Lindegaard looked confident in his penalty and area and his communication with his defenders was effective from the off-set, of course he has the advantage over De Gea in that area given his perfect English but that was not the only area where the Dane stood out. He showcased a good ability when shot stopping and pulled out a number of crucial saves which prevented United going further behind and his distribution was very good, not quite De Gea standard but still very good.

On recent showings on the US tour I half expected for Lindegaard to begin the season as United number one in order to give De Gea time to bed in to his new life in Manchester and watching Lindegaard on the tour I would have been perfectly happy for that to have been the case, his performance in Lisbon only added credence to that. On recent displays Lindegaard also seems to possess the qualities to be a Manchester United number one keeper, however Ferguson seems very excited by De Gea and the fact that the Spaniard is currently above the impressive Dane in the GK pecking order could suggest that we have yet to see the true class of David De Gea. Without doubt De Gea still has more to give however he has not had as bad a start as some may have you believe and having a brilliant keeper pushing him 100% will only improve De Gea has a player but like Sir Alex I’m facing a dilemma myself in terms of who I would like to be United number one.

This is the first time in my United supporting life where both first and second choice keeper could easily be number one for a sustained spell. As I have just referred to this will only benefit both goalkeepers given the immense competition that will be taking place on the training fields of Carrington and whoever Ferguson eventually plumps for will ultimately be ready for the trials and tribulations that the goalkeeper in question will have to deal with in one of the most pressurised jobs in world football.

As things seem to be progressing I would imagine that De Gea will make the spot his own, he has showcased all the attributes needed to maintain the position and at only twenty years old his ability is nothing short of astonishing and is only bettered by his potential. However Lindegaard is such a likeable person and is a credit to Manchester United, ever since his arrival in January he has said all the right things and is slowly becoming a bit of a cult hero amongst the United faithful. His ‘I’m not here to pick my nose’ quip has the potential to be another ‘stay on your feet’ (okay maybe not but it certainly carries plenty more humour factor) and his avoidance of cliche’s such as ‘dream come true’ to describe his Champions League debut instead opting for ‘very amusing’ is a refreshing thing to hear from a footballer and he appears to be a normal guy who feels very lucky to be at United and his determined not to waste his opportunity. His self confidence in his own ability touches on arrogance but nobody ever made it big by playing nice 100% of the time and the fact that he has proved he is not just all talk by showing he can cut it on the big stage means I along with many others would be happy having Anders as number one.

Now for those of you saying I’m getting slightly ahead of myself after just one game,  maybe I am but  those who watched him on the US Tour will tell you how assured he looked over there and furthermore on his debut against Southampton in the FA Cup in January he looked equally steady between the sticks. Of course I am not churlish enough to think that Lindegaard does not need to do more to prove himself a top United goalkeeper but the signs are good and even if he doesn’t take the number one spot on a permanent basis his ability will only aid De Gea’s likely rise to stardom, but without any nasal rummaging to distract him the big Dane is ready to give it 100% to overhaul the Spaniard.