The Manchester United reserve goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak has accused his team-mate Edwin van der Sar of failing to offer him support at Old Trafford and suggested it is because the Dutchman does not like him.
In an extraordinary discussion of their relationship, which has echoes of the animosity between Manuel Almunia and Jens Lehmann before Lehmann's departure from Arsenal, Kuszczak said that he had sought advice from United's first-choice keeper, who is 12 years his senior, but received nothing.
"To be honest, I must say this and Edwin doesn't like this too much for sure, but he doesn't help me too much," the Polish goalkeeper said. "I have told him a few times already to give me some more advice because he's got more experience and got many more games under his belt. I say, 'You have to give me something more because I like to know what I do wrong and like to watch other people because doing that I can take some good from the advice I get.' But I don't know, maybe Edwin doesn't like me. You'll have to ask him."
Kuszczak is no youngster, it has to be said, and at the age of 27 appears to have decided that it is time to leave Old Trafford for regular first-team football and leave Ben Foster to challenge Van der Sar's position. Kuszczak's clean-sheet record is actually marginally superior to Van der Sar's but his tendency to make critical errors has left him third in line at Old Trafford.
"I hope the best is to come because I've not played too much over the last three years and not enough for myself," he said. "Of course, I try to do everything to be on the pitch as many times as possible but I hope in the future the games will come more and more and I will get the chance to play in the biggest games because that's what I want to do. The question is how long do you want to wait? I try every day. It's a slow process. It's not so easy. I feel good. I feel great in the position but I'm not called up and sometimes you think, 'OK, it's difficult, you have to wait.'"
Kuszczak has some interesting thoughts on why he became a goalkeeper. "I was always full of energy and like to save things and dive and jump. It's a little bit crazy but goalkeepers are a bit different to players. We like to dive 200 times a day," he said.
Rio Ferdinand appears unlikely to play for United at Chelsea on Sunday, despite enthusiasm to win his battle with calf and back injuries. West Ham's Carlton Cole is also out of contention for England's squad to face Brazil this month following a hamstring injury sustained against Aston Villa on Wednesday. Jermain Defoe, whom Fabio Capello will watch for Spurs against Sunderland tomorroe, will return to the squad. Capello is also expected to name Peter Crouch, Emile Heskey and Wayne Rooney.