by Dan Coombs
Manchester United’s Ben Amos could find himself thrust into the title race if anything happens to the club’s current number one David de Gea.
It has been widely reported that Manchester United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard has suffered a setback in his recovery from his ankle injury and could miss the rest of the season.
He has been out since late January, just when he was staking his claim as number one.
Since then, much-criticised David de Gea has stepped up to the point that he is now described as ‘rarely-criticised David de Gea.’
The Spaniard has kept three Premier League clean sheets in a row, so it is understandable that in light of Lindegaard’s setback, United fans may be crossing their fingers that nothing happens to him.
This time of year with margins for error tighter than ever, the pressure is on both De Gea and Hart to keep their respective sides in the title race, and often haul them out of trouble.
So in Lindegaard’s absence, 21-year-old Ben Amos will continue sitting on the substitutes bench, ready to be called into action if need be.
As well as featuring in United’s Carling Cup team, Amos was called into action in the club’s home match with Stoke City at the end of January, when Lindegaard was first injured and De Gea fell ill.
An England under-21 international, Amos did not let the side down, keeping a clean sheet in a 2-0 victory.
He has not had a chance since then, but the clean sheet will have given supporters an ounce of confidence, should anything happen to De Gea in the eight remaining games.
Should he find himself thrown in, his performances could decide the destination of the title. He can make a name for himself, for better or worse.
England need new good young goalkeepers, it is an area where they have been short in recent years, with little cover for Joe Hart, so if one day Amos can make the step up, it will be most welcome for country as well as club.
Amos’ record this season is played three, conceded two, and two clean sheets. The two he conceded were in the Carling Cup at home to Crystal Palace, when he was beaten by Darren Ambrose’ stunning 35-yard strike.
United fans will currently feel they have the edge, but if anything were to happen to De Gea, despite Amos’ promising showings, surely the nerves would be even more frayed, considering his inexperience.
Such an injury could be a turning point in this year’s title race, just as the Vincent Kompany injury unsettled Manchester City.
However Amos is a year old than De Gea, and the Spaniard is proof that age is no barrier to talent, so perhaps fans should not be unduly concerned.
At rivals Manchester City, the man waiting in Joe Hart’s ever-present shadow is Costel Pantimilon. The 6 foot 8 Romanian has not had many opportunities to impress so far, limited to the domestic cups.
He featured in City’s 3-2 FA Cup loss to Manchester United in January, saving a Wayne Rooney penalty, but was unable to keep the rebound out.