Marathon Van vows to carry on playing

VETERAN Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar is in no hurry to retire even though he will be 40 in October.

The Dutchman is enjoying an Indian summer to his career after arriving from Fulham in 2005.

He signed a one-year contract extension in February which means he will remain with the club at least until the end of the upcoming season.

United are aiming to regain their Barclays Premier League crown from Chelsea and improve in the Champions League after losing to Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.

Van der Sar insists age should be no barrier to staying hungry and having the will to win.

He said: “I have been hearing these questions for the last three or four years. Sometimes you surprise yourself also. It is a great club to be at.

“You play in the Premier League, the Champions League, you have a chance of winning titles and trophies and competing against the best players in the league.

“It is something that is too good not to do it any more. I still very much enjoy it. Even at my age it is still a pleasure to put in all the hard work so you are in the starting XI on a Saturday and a Tuesday night.”

Van der Sar faces competition on the club’s summer tour from Tomasz Kuszczak and rookie Ben Amos, following Ben Foster’s departure.

And the former Ajax and Juventus shot-stopper believes United have a bright future.

Van der Sar said: “We have a great mix of some senior players and a whole crop of younger players coming through.

“United emphasise they are a club that produces young players. I can see some who will be here for a long time.”

Meanwhile United manager Alex Ferguson has revealed that Rio Ferdinand is unlikely to be back until the beginning of September.

The England defender is recovering from a knee injury that caused him to miss the World Cup in South Africa.

He had been tipped to recover in time for the Red Devils’ league opener with Newcastle on 16th August, but could now miss games against Fulham and West Ham.

Ferguson said: “Rio should be six weeks, I think. It was a ligament injury after all. You have to be careful with that.”

Ferguson believes he did the right thing by signing Chris Smalling despite his lack of top-flight experience.

He felt he had to “stock up ” in the department given Ferdinand’s problems and the uncertainty over Nemanja Vidic’s future.

Vidic has now agreed a four-year contract extension and Ferguson said: “We did not know that Rio was going to get the injury. But we were still working with the complete conviction that (Vidic) was going to sign anyway long before the World Cup started.

“We prepared some months ago by signing Smalling if eventually we should have injuries in the department.

“Last season we did not do our chances in the league a lot of good by the number of injuries we had to defenders.

“So we felt we should stock up in that department. It has turned out to be pretty important.”

The United boss expressed delight at Vidic’s decision to commit his long-term future to United.

He said: “We are delighted, he is fantastic centre-half, a great competitor with a marvellous attitude to winning games. It strengthens our hand.

“In the modern day game it is not easy renewing players’ contracts when they do well, particularly those from other countries.

“Over the last year or so there has been speculation about Nemanja time and time again, sometimes by the press, sometimes fuelled by other sources.

“But we never had a strong feeling he really wanted to leave.’’


Food news with Joe McNameeThe Menu: Upcoming food highlights

THE health properties of tea have long been advertised. “It maketh the body active and lusty” a 1660 promotion suggested. However, before you dunk your teabag into a mug of steaming water, spare a thought for the environment. Some have polypropylene to help to seal them and it doesn’t decompose.Storm in a teacup: Top 8 loose-leaf teas

Bestselling author Isabel Allende talks to Rowena Walsh about life, grief, and why it’s never too late to fall in loveIsabel Allende: It's never too late to fall in love

Cliffs of Moher Retreat owner Michelle Moroney has written a book on finding self-worth and stepping back from our 24/7 lives. She talks to Marjorie Brennan about the need to unwindMichelle Moroney highlights the need to take stock of our lives

More From The Irish Examiner