Anders Lindegaard plans to usurp David de Gea as Manchester United number one

 

Anders Lindegaard is determined not to let his Manchester United dream die having come so agonisingly close to fulfilling it.

To say the last six months has been frustrating for the 28-year-old keeper is a considerable understatement.

After a succession of hesitant performances from David de Gea, by the turn of the year, Lindegaard had been elevated to first-choice United keeper by Sir Alex Ferguson.

He helped secure a vital win at Arsenal in his sixth appearance in seven games and life looked good.

That was until a routine training session ended with him being stretchered off in agony with an ankle injury that prevented him from featuring again at first-team level for the rest of the season.

Not only was Lindegaard forced to watch on as De Gea regained his confidence, it also meant he had fallen out of favour with the Denmark national team.

So, even when Thomas Sorensen was ruled out with a pre-tournament back problem, Lindegaard remained on the bench throughout Euro 2012 as Morten Olsen's men crashed out at the group stage.

Little wonder Lindegaard was happy to cut short his holiday time and take his place on United's pre-season tour of South Africa.

"If you look at it objectively, it was maybe one of the worst situations a football player has ever been in," he said.

"I had worked for that spot since I was four.

"From the first time I touched the ball, that is what I dreamed of.

"It has been a very frustrating period, from the day I got injured until after the Euros.

"But I have to try and use it in a positive way. The disappointment was so big, if I let it drag me down, I will never get out of that hole again."

Lindegaard's experience in Poland and Ukraine haven't helped his mood.

The man who famously announced his arrival at Old Trafford by declaring "I have not come here to pick my nose" bristles when he starts to think about it.

"If I had kept my spot at United I would have played at the Euros, no matter whether Thomas had been fit or not, anything else would have been madness," he said.

"As it turned out, being with the Danish national team at the Euros was such a frustrating thing for me that I refuse to talk about it.

"Nothing good will come out of that."

Instead, Lindegaard will concentrate his energies on reclaiming that coveted first-team place.

A rather strange summer may work to his advantage though.

In returning so quickly, Lindegaard will be able to play a full part in United's Premier League build-up, which tomorrow sees them take on Ajax Cape Town, before further outings in Shanghai and then two in Scandinavia ahead of the last friendly against Hannover on August 11.

All the while, De Gea will be missing having accepted the opportunity to feature in Spain's Olympic quest.

It is hard to imagine Sir Alex Ferguson considering De Gea for the opening encounter with Everton given he will not have seen his keeper in action throughout the summer, offering Lindegaard an immediate chance to make up for lost time.

Of course, should Spain suffer an unexpectedly early exit from London 2012, De Gea would be back.

Lindegaard could be forgiven therefore for hoping the world and European champions add another major tournament to their impressive list of recent titles.

Rather magnanimously, that is not quite the way he wants to do things.

"I want the number one spot because I am the best," he said.

"I don't want it because he is injured or he is not there.

"I am sure he is a bit in front right now because he did well last season, so I need to take every chance I get to prove myself worthy of the number one spot."

PA

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