Tomasz Kuszczak has set himself a make-or-break challenge at Manchester United this season. The Reds number two keeper is due for his second match in eight days tonight at Scunthorpe in the Carling Cup third round. Last week Old Trafford boss Sir Alex Ferguson rested first choice Edwin Van der Sar in the Champions League match against Rangers and handed Kuszczak his first start since last February's Carling Cup final against Aston Villa. The 28-year-old Pole is now totting up his game-time before making an end-of-season decision on his United future. And the Euro 2012 finals in his home country is the driving force behind Kuszczak's long term career verdict. What I am looking for this season is more games in a row. It is very important for me this season to do that, Tomasz told M.E.N. Sport. It is my sixth season at United and I want to play more and more. I came here and it was a different level of football to that at West Brom where I was previously. I think I have had a really good time here and I have learned a lot. Important I have trained with great players. I have trained with Edwin Van d er Sar which is fantastic. It is the best place to learn and get such important experience. But I hope this season is going to give me something more because I am 28 now. I am hungry for games. I want to play and move forward. United's number one Van der Sar decided in February to extend his Old Trafford career and agreed a 12-month extension. He remains firmly in possession of the senior gloves as he approaches his 40th birthday next month. It was Edwin's decision to stay and he is a great goalkeeper and a good guy, added Tomasz. But I want to play in the first team. It has been difficult for the last couple of years because Edwin has been doing so well. He didn't make any mistakes and kept his position. It has been a good time for me to train with him and see how he goes about things. This is the experience I needed. I have learnt a lot and I want to play more and more. It is the only way for me. If I don't get enough games and the future is not going to be me then I will have to move. So long as the boss gives me a chance we will see how it goes. If I perform well I hope I will get more and more matches. Last season Kuszczak was handed an extended run of 11 matches between November and January when Van der Sar was out with a knee injury. But as soon as the Dutchman was fit he was reinstated. Last season was a great time for me. You want to play because it is difficult to impress everybody if you are not playing, said the keeper. I had waited three or four years waiting for the chance like I had last season where I played regularly. I got stronger and stronger and I felt I played well. I was really happy with my performances. But when Edwin was fit the boss brought him back. It was tough to take because I thought I played some good games. It is not easy to go back on the bench again when you feel this was your time and you have a chance to move forward. It was not easy to go backwards. But I am a big boy, a tough guy and I tried to concentrate on my training and keep going.
Understand A similar fate befell Ben Foster earlier in the campaign when he deputised for Van der Sar. His period, however, ultimately wrecked his England World Cup chances and Foster decided his Old Trafford time was up and moved to Birmingham City in the summer. I could understand Ben's position. He wanted to move because he wanted regular football and he wanted to play for England, Tomasz said. But if I don't get enough games I will have to do the same as Ben. The years are going by and I will be 29 after this season. I want to enjoy football and I want to play. United have been linked with numerous new goalkeepers with Holland and Ajax number one Maarten Stekelenburg, Germany and Schalke's Manuel Neuer and France and Lyons' Hugo Lloris among the many names suggested as targets in readiness for Van der Sar's future retirement. But Kuszczak believes at the moment he remains in the strongest position. The club are maybe looking for somebody. This is a normal process. Clubs buy new players. It happens, he says. Poland co-host Euro 2012 with the Ukraine and Kuszczak wants to resurrect his international career in time for the occasion. I want to play for my country and if you don't get enough games you don't get promoted to the national team, Tomasz adds. The key to the national team is to play more and more for your club and that is why I want more matches for United. The European Championship in 2012 is in Poland and it is very important for me to be there and play for my country.
It happens once in about 20 or 30 years that a competition like this is in your country so I am going to do everything to be in this tournament. I have to play regularly at club level and play well if I am to be in the squad for 2012. Before his first start of the season against Rangers Kuszczak's last match was at Wembley in last February's Carling Cup final success against Aston Villa.To play a game like the Carling Cup final at Wembley was fantastic. he said. Ben Foster got his chance the year before and last year was my opportunity. But that has happened and now there is a new challenge. It is a new story. Do you think Kuszczak is good enough to take over from Van der Sar? Have your say.