Amos prepared for the biggest game of his life


Goalkeeper Ben Amos is ready to face the Stamford Bridge cauldron if required by Manchester United on Sunday.

After Sir Alex Ferguson endured a "nightmare" on Monday, when both Anders Lindegaard and David de Gea were ruled out, Amos was thrust into the first team for Tuesday's Premier League win over Stoke City.

Now attention turns to the weekend when, after joining Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, United must try and stay there by beating Chelsea on their own ground in a top-flight game for the first time since 2002.

Although Ferguson did not offer an update on Lindegaard or De Gea, neither man was included in a list of those who have a chance of being fit for the weekend, which means Amos looks likely to be plunged into the biggest game of his life.

"I have been waiting a long time for an opportunity this season and thankfully it has come," said the 21-year-old after the Stoke game. "I feel I am ready to play at this level and it has been kind of frustrating that these chances don't come around. But you have to be ready when something like that happens and you are thrown straight in and I like to think I made the most of it."

In truth, Amos did not have much to do. The only time he was tested was from a Cameron Jerome header, which he smothered at the second attempt.

However, the fact he did not force himself into the action was a good sign as, just as a striker may snatch at chances because he knows they must be taken, so goalkeepers can underperform by trying to create work when there is none.

"In a sense I wanted more to do but then there is a temptation to go and chase things," he said. "You see a lot of keepers with not much experience who try and make an impact, which there is no need to do. That is what I had in my head and I think I got that right."

An outfield player in his youth, Amos only became a goalkeeper at his local Bollington club in Macclesfield because his junior team were short of players one day and he was the tallest option.

Amos went on to Crewe, before joining United's academy. After spending half a season on loan at Oldham last year, it was anticipated Amos would spend more time away from Old Trafford this year. Instead, he has remained at the club and featured in all three of United's Carling Cup matches this season.

"All I can do is keep a clean sheet and play the best I can when I get a chance," said Amos. "You have to do the best you can. It is the manager who makes the decisions and all I can do is put pressure on the other two any chance I get."

Such is the scrutiny surrounding De Gea following his below-par weekend display at Liverpool that the Spaniard's absence may have been a blessing in disguise.

Wayne Rooney (ankle), Nani (foot) and Ashley Young (hip) all have a chance of being available this weekend, according to Ferguson, meaning United may be in a position to put more pressure on Manchester City, who were beaten on Tuesday night by Everton, thanks to a goal from United old-boy Darron Gibson.

"Part of the plan," said Ferguson, with a beaming smile. "It was a nice boost. All the lads are really pleased for Darron. It will be March time before all will be revealed in the league but we are on City's coat-tails and we aim to keep it that way."

Ferguson is still hopeful of retaining young midfielder Paul Pogba. The 18-year-old made his Premier League debut against Stoke as Ferguson opted to give Pogba some valuable experience. It was a significant move on the day the highly rated but wayward Ravel Morrison quit for West Ham and comes at a time when United are trying to persuade Pogba to sign a new contract.

Italian giants Juventus are among the clubs who have expressed an interest in the French teenager, whom Ferguson has previously advised to stay and be patient at United, rather than opt for the lure of quick money elsewhere.

And the United manager confirmed talks were continuing, with hopes of a positive resolution. "Pogba did very well," Ferguson said. "The boy has great talent and tremendous physique for an 18-year-old. You can't believe it. We are negotiating his contract at the moment.

"It is a bit complicated because he has changed his agent a couple of times. But the boy wants to stay, that is obvious. Hopefully we can get it done soon."

The Match of the Day pundit Alan Hansen has defended himself against criticism from Sir Alex Ferguson. In his programme notes for the Stoke match, Ferguson condemned Hansen's assessment of his team, claiming Hansen had said United had not played well for 18 months. Ferguson added Hansen would end up with egg on his face, just as he did when declaring: "You never win anything with kids" on his first viewing of the team containing Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and David Beckham that went on to dominate the English game

Hansen denied he had said what Ferguson accused him of. "I really don't know where that has come from," he said. "I never said that at any stage. What I said was that, over a period of 18 months, they haven't been as good as they have been in the past.

"I have also said that if you take the three teams at the top, Manchester United have consistently played worse than Tottenham and Manchester City. But it is to their credit that they are where they are and they will be the team to beat.

"In 1995, I said you can't win anything with kids. In 2012, I never said you can't win anything if you are hopeless."


general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before