February 14, 2009


United goalkeeping coach Eric Steele talks about the challenges facing Tomasz Kuszczak and Ben Foster as they continue to shadow Edwin van der Sar...

The hardest job for a goalkeeper at United is understudying the number 1.

At the present time, Edwin van der Sar is in the top spot, he’s got the shirt, and it’s up to Tomasz Kuszczak and Ben Foster to become Edwin's senior challenger.

Whenever Tomasz comes into the team and plays one game, some people might say he could have done this or that better. They never seem to talk about what he did well in the game, which is something I always look at. People need to take into account it might be Tomasz's first game for six weeks. The same goes for Ben.

While that’s very much part of the territory if a goalkeeper comes to United and challenges the number one, it still has to be put into the equation when you’re assessing them. The keepers are working at a fantastic tempo in the training sessions that Mike Phelan and Rene Meulensteen put on and the sessions do reflect what a goalkeeper has to do come Saturday afternoon or Wednesday night. But there's nothing like playing in a real game to develop your decision-making.

Thankfully we’ve had matches in the Carling Cup and FA Cup which have given Ben and Tomasz an opportunity, and they’ve also played the odd game in the Premier League and Champions League. At all times, they have to be prepared for when the manager says to them, "You're playing." If they're not ready, that's my fault...