Monday, 5 October 2009

Ben Foster - The Loneliest Man At Old Trafford

The previous few months of footie banter have involved one topic that all United fans have an opinion about. The sort of opinion that is akin to a Marmite debate. Love it. Hate it. That subject is about who needs to wear Van Der Sar's pants when he is permanently unavailable

For me, it had to be Ben Foster. I defended him vehemently. Told people to wait and see. I told people about his former career as an outfield player, and how this made his kicking game amazing. How he tactically understood the role of the back four, and of course, his boundless confidence in his own ability.

Well its fair to say i have egg all over my face. Thank you Ben.

In the ten matches Foster has played for United this season he has unequivocally gone from almost defo United and England number one select, to sticking his reputation and career on the proverbial scrapheap. Its almost unimaginable to think how far his stock has fallen in just a couple of months - like he has gone into some unpredicted recession with a Wall Street crash around the corner and an economic goalkeeping depression to look forward to. He has absolutely blown 'it', whatever 'it' maybe.

Frankly I am shocked, but i shouldn't be surprised. He will be yet another butterfingered merchant in a long line of Post-Schmeichelist players who have failed to live up to the pressure of producing week to week uber-performance standards. Think Fabien Barthez, Think Mark Bosnich, Think Massimo Tiabi...actually don't!

The boy has talent I'm sure, but for me he is more Robert Green than Edwin Van Der Sar. If Foster was at a West Ham, his odd mistake would not get highlighted in the way it does at United. I watched Green concede a goal on his near post against Liverpool the other week, and all i heard was how great Torres was for scoring the toe poked smash and grab. No criticism was levelled at the keeper, despite the fact that he should of had the basic of 'covering the near post' within his remit that day. So for Foster's sake, maybe he should go to a team outside the big four, that is if he has true World Cup ambitions.

I think he has blown his chance at United now. SAF traditionally has had no record of patience with keepers in the past so why should he start now? The only worry is i do not see a glut of marquee goalies plying their trade around the world at the mo. Once upon a time there would always be 6 or 7 number ones who you would admire from afar, but i cant think of any at the moment. I would not be surprised if Fergie goes for an aged, experienced trooper, as he did when he nabbed Edwin from Fulham. Someone who has been there and done it already. Has that experience vital to playing at the highest level every week.

I feel empathy for Foster, but i have little sympathy. This was always gonna be the making or breaking of him. Its just sad that he didn't have that extra vavavoom when he got his wondrous chance.


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