Manchester United's Ben Foster to stake claim for No 1 jersey
20 July 2009 08:13
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United will tackle the Malaysians for the second time in three days at the Bukit Jalil Stadium at 8.45pm local time (1.45pm BST) after hastily rearranging the fixture following Friday's deadly bombs in Jakarta which prompted the club to cancel tonight's planned game in the Indonesian capital.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson is set to make a host of changes from Saturday's starting line-up, which secured a 3-2 victory, with Foster and Michael Owen expected to play from the start.
Foster will be starting his first game since undergoing thumb surgery in May that ruled him out of the Champions League final and England's World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Kazakhstan.
But with the former Stoke goalkeeper having proven his fitness with 45 minutes on Saturday, Ferguson believes that Foster is ready to challenge Van der Sar for the number one jersey this season.
Ferguson said: "Saturday was Ben's first game for three or four months after suffering his injury at the end of last season and we had to operate.
"But I've said it before that, in the long-run, I think he'll be England's goalkeeper. I'm absolutely certain of that.
"Ben has a challenge to take the position of Edwin van der Sar, though, because as everybody accepts, is one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time."
Foster has been dogged by injuries since making his United debut on the club's tour of South Africa three years ago.
A cruciate knee ligament injury sidelined the 26-year-old for a season and he has also been hit by finger, thumb and ankle problems.
But having handed him a four-year contract earlier this month, Ferguson admits that it is crucial that Foster now puts his injuries behind him.
Ferguson said: "We hope and pray Ben gets a long run without an injury consistency will be important for the boy."
Michael Carrick and Gary Neville, both absent from Saturday's action, are due to play today, but Ji-Sung Park will not link up with the squad until United arrive in Seoul on Wednesday on the next leg of the tour.
Ferguson said: "The players who started the first game won't start today It will be a completely different team. Other players need to get minutes on the clock."