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Jeepers keepers: Is Fergie set to drop another clanger in Ben Foster?
Published : 10 Aug 2009 14:20:13Rss feed
Replacing Cristiano Ronaldo may not prove Sir Alex Ferguson's greatest worry after all as the Manchester United boss is left to ponder how to cope without injured No 1 Edwin van der Sar. An error strewn afternoon for Ben Foster against Chelsea in the Community Shield at Wembley has cast serious doubts over his ability to cover for the Dutchman who is set for a two month spell on the sidelines with a broken finger. Foster flapped at crosses, should have done better with both goals and Ferguson's assertion that the former Stoke and Watford man is the future England number one is now looking a little hasty. The United manager has had mixed success with keepers during his 26 years at Old Trafford so will Foster be one of the greats or one to forget? Sportsmail takes a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of United goalkeepers. THE GOOD... LES SEALEY Champion custodian: The late Les Sealey helped Manchester United to European glory in 1991 Signed March 1990 from Luton - loan; signed June 1990 from Luton - free; signed from Aston Villa, January 1993 - free. Not an obvious choice when he was first signed but made the most of his opportunity at Old Trafford, starring in the FA Cup final replay in 1990 where he kept Crystal Palace at bay with a string of great saves...with his legs! He also picked up a European Cup Winners' Cup medal in 1991. PETER SCHMEICHEL Signed August 1991 from Brondby - £550k Regarded as one of Ferguson's best signings - not just his best goalkeeper. Silver service: Schmeichel's greatness set the barrier for his United successors The Dane arrived as United's dominance of the League was beginning, winning it five times, the FA Cup three times and was in the team that won snatched the latest of late victories in the Champions League Final of 1999. Arguably the greatest keeper to grace the Premier League. EDWIN VAN DER SAR Signed June 2005 from Fulham - £2m Sir Alex believed he had should have signed Van der Sar ten years earlier, considering the Dutchman for a while only to buy Mark Bosnich instead. Double Dutch: Van der Sar's penalty heroics in Moscow handed United a Premier League and Champions league double over rivals Chelsea in 2008 Premier League winner three times and one Champions League title in his time at Old Trafford, he is still highly regarded by Sir Alex but, at 38-years-old, doesn't have too many years at the top left. Hands up: Mark Bosnich failed to impress at United THE BAD... MARK BOSNICH June 1989 from Sydney Croatia - free; signed June 1999 from Aston Villa - free His two spells at Old Trafford were both times to forget. He bought himself out of his contract after just three games first time and returned ten years later, with little success. MASSIMO TAIBI Signed August 1999 from Venezia - £4.5m Schmeichel replacement mk 1. The huge price-tag brought great responsibility but the Italian crumbled under the pressure and his howler against Southampton, letting Matthew Le Tissier's shot squeeze through his legs, signalled the end of his time in the United side. Butt of all jokes: Massimo Taibi's howler against Southampton signalled the end The fact that he played in the 5-0 defeat to Chelsea two weeks later didn't help, either. FABIEN BARTHEZ Signed May 2000 from Monaco - £7.8m The France international was brought in to be the keeper that would truly replace Schmeichel but, despite his undoubted ability, fell foul of Fergie's wrath after several the high-profile clangers. C'est la vie: Fabien Barthez contemplates a high-profile clanger against Valencia Embarrassing mistakes against Deportivo in the Champions League, Arsenal in the Premier League and his infamous attempt at convincing West Ham's Paolo Di Canio that he had been caught off-side was a little embarrassing, too. Replaced by Tim Howard in 2003. AND...THE UGLY... JIM LEIGHTON June 1988 from Aberdeen - £750k A few contenders for this one (Tony Coton and Andy Goram just missed out) but with his interesting take on dental care, Leighton was the stand-out contender. Final stand: Leighton shipped three goals against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final in 1990 to force Fergie to drop him for United's replay win at Wembley Jim actually had a decent career working with Fergie at Aberdeen then making the move south to Old Trafford. His time was up as soon as Schmeichel jumped on the plane from Brondby.