Manchester United: Goalkeeping Dilemma, Anders Lindegaard vs. David De Gea

Bimersha GautamCorrespondent IIIJanuary 19, 2012

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04:  Newcastle forward Demba Ba (l) scores past Man United keeper Anders Lindegaard during the Barclays Premier league game between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St James' Park on January 4, 2012 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Take a club like Manchester United that has two great goalkeeping talents in Anders Lindegaard and David De Gea. At one end you have—until recently unheard goalkeeping talent—Lindegaard, who was signed by Manchester United for a paltry sum of around £3.5 million pounds, and at the other end of the spectrum you have an £18 million-pound signing in David De Gea.

The latter was signed from Atletico Madrid to replace the great Edwin van der Sar, but due to constant goalkeeping mistakes hasn't been able to emulate the form that made him so highly sought after during his stint with Atletico Madrid. 

Many of David De Gea errors have been very high profile, but none more appalling than his failure to clear the cross that lead to Blackburn Rovers' goal that spoiled Sir Alex Ferguson's birthday. As well as the hopes of Manchester United finishing the year on a high.

After that crucial error, the Spanish Under-21 international was benched in favour for Anders Lindegaard. And he hasn't disappointed. Lindegaard, this season alone, has already amassed seven clean sheets. You have to wonder whether signing De Gea was a huge mistake.

We do have the benefit of hindsight. But when a goalkeeper of the caliber of van der Sar retires, you do have to bring in an established keeper. And that is exactly what Sir Alex did by bringing in the Atletico shot-stopper.

But it seems that United already had a gem of a goalkeeper in Lindegaard. He is certainly proving his worth by making extraordinary saves. He also certainly looks more comfortable in controlling the back line and dealing with crosses. 

In a recent interview, Lindegaard had this to say:

David has extraordinary attributes, he is extremely explosive and powerful. He is only 21, but his potential is massive and there is no doubt he will be United's best goalkeeper at some point.

However, as any professional sport goes, when you're competing for the same place you hope its your compatriot that is being benched. That is exactly what Lindegaard agrees with:

My job is to make sure it is not until I have retired, which is about 10 years away! Of course, everyone wants to play as much as possible and I'm no different, so I don't need a definition of my position 

Its a rarity that Manchester United has found two world class goalkeeping talents and has avoided signing blunders as demonstrated by the number of keepers between Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar.

Nevertheless, the situation still presents a conundrum: Keep rotating the goalkeepers and neither develop the experience and confidence required to excel in big-games. Bench De Gea and you do not salvage the huge transfer fees paid out, and his confidence suffers. And if you bench Lindegaard too often, he might move on to greener pastures elsewhere, as he has established himself on the radar. 

If you were Sir Alex, what would you do?

What is the best situation in such a quandary?

Leave your opinions. 

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