Amos must bide his time
Spare a thought for Ben Amos the young man who has the unwanted distinction of being the only United goalkeeper to concede a Champions League goal this season. The distinction, but not the blame. That belongs to Michael Carrick guilty of dithering in the centre circle, allowing Ever Banega to rob him of possession, before Pablo Hernandez expertly finished. It was cruel on the 20-year-old on a night when he was handed the responsibility of making United the first team in Champions League history to navigate the group stages without conceding a single goal. It was a measure of the faith Sir Alex Ferguson has in the Macclesfield-born keeper who he thought capable enough of filling the shoes of Ben Foster last summer. And last night Amos became the latest pretender to Edwin van der Sar's throne to try to convince Ferguson to keep his chequebook in his pocket at the end of the season. The United manager admits he is still undecided as to what to do when Van der Sar hangs up his gloves at the end of the season. He has already spent £4m in bringing Anders Lindegaard to Old Trafford in January but continues to consider a host of high-profile targets. A veritable who's who of Europe's finest are on his wishlist. From Germany's No1, Manuel Neuer, to David de Gea of Atletico Madrid and even Liverpool's Pepe Reina. Which is why nights like last night are so important to Amos or Tomasz Kuszczak. A so-called dead-rubber that will prove one of his few opportunities to prove they can genuinely be considered a successor to Van der Sar. With United now out of the Carling Cup following last week's 4-0 mauling at West Ham and every Champions League game in the New Year of increasing importance, opportunities will be limited for United's existing understudies. That, combined with the arrival of Lindegaard and an FA Cup third round draw with Liverpool, make it difficult to see when Amos' next first team appearance will come. Kuszczak's last chance may have already come and gone. Ferguson's acquisition of Lindegaard and continued interest in more established names to replace the retiring Van der Sar looks to have a drawn a line under the Pole's hopes of one day becoming the undisputed No1 at Old Trafford. Amos' time will come but he may just have to wait that little bit longer for it to eventually arrive.
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