Football: Glass: Peter is the greatest

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The Independent Online
JIMMY GLASS shook his head in disagreement. "I don't think it's a case of Manchester United having trouble replacing Peter Schmeichel," he said. "I don't think you can replace him. There are a lot of foreign goalkeepers who are good but Schmeichel is unique. He's shown how great a keeper can be. Goalkeeping has always been important but it was never proved just how important until Schmeichel came along."

Or, it could be said, until Glass himself came out of his box at Brunton Park five minutes into seasonal overtime and struck the goal that kept Carlisle United on the Football League map. When Schmeichel charged upfield in injury time at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night the nation was wondering whether the great Dane could "do a Jimmy Glass". Except Jimmy Glass, that is. He was wondering whether Schmeichel would "do a Schmeichel". "He did score before me," the latest legend of the last-liners said, pointing to the equaliser Schmeichel headed against Rotor Volgograd in a Uefa Cup tie at Old Trafford four years ago.

"Peter Schmeichel is a legend," Glass added. "He's an absolute legend. He's unorthodox. He's unique. He has a presence about him. I once came across him at Highbury. He was at the top of these stairs talking to John Jensen and it took me three steps to get round him. He's gigantic. But he's very quick for a big man.

"On Wednesday night he might have been a bit disappointed for the Bayern goal; he might have got caught behind his wall. But he made a couple of great saves. He thoroughly deserved the recognition he got when he lifted the trophy with Alex Ferguson."

Recognition is what Glass craves, too. After his 15 minutes of goalscoring fame on loan to Carlisle, he is looking to make his name as a goalkeeper. "It was nice scoring that goal," he said, "but it's not going to get me a career. I've got a three-year contract at Swindon but I'm 25 now and the manager realises I don't want to be a No 2 at my age. I've been in negotiations with Carlisle and another couple of clubs have been interested."

Manchester United, perhaps? "Not unless they're looking for a kit man, I wouldn't have thought," the modest saver-turned-scoring-saviour said.