The Red Devils legend has emphasised the need for goalkeepers to inspire confidence in the rest of the team at Old Trafford as David de Gea’s exit to Real Madrid looms
EXCLUSIVE By Harry Sherlock
Peter Schmeichel believes Sergio Romero must quickly become accustomed to playing at a “very aggressive football club” if he is to have any chance of taking the No.1 shirt at Manchester United.
The Argentine international completed a free transfer to Old Trafford on Monday, with Louis van Gaal admitting that the move prepares the club for the potential exit of David de Gea.
It took United six years, however, to adequately replace Schmeichel, a five-time Premier League champion, and the Dane emphasised the need for a United goalkeeper to inspire confidence in the players in front of him.
“The goalkeeping job at Manchester United has always been important,” he told Goal at the filming of the new Carlsberg advert ‘If Carlsberg Did Kickabouts’.
“It has always been important because of the style of play. Manchester United is a very aggressive, attack-minded football club, it’s chasing wins and it’s chasing goals.
“When you do that you commit people forward, and when you commit people forward you need strong defenders and a strong goalkeeper who can understand what’s going to happen next in terms of what the team is doing.
“Certain goalkeepers that were signed after I left the club didn’t have that.
“They didn’t have that confidence, didn’t inspire that confidence onto their team-mates and their immediate defenders. That was a big problem. Fortunately it was sorted out when Edwin [van der Sar] came in, and the standard of goalkeeping was back to where it should be.”
Part of that role at a top club such as United, Schmeichel insists, is serving as the first line of attack and initiating the team’s moves upfield.
He also wants to see Van Gaal select a more consistent defensive unit, pointing to defending champions Chelsea as an example to follow.
“I think, for goalkeepers, goalkeepers are the first attackers, if you like,” Schmeichel continued.
“Pep Guardiola says that everyone is a defender and everyone is an attacker and that’s very true in the way that goalkeepers play these days.
“They’re very much involved in build-up and all that but the fact of the matter is, the core work for goalkeepers is still goalkeeping and I think it very much relies on confidence.
“I actually believe your back four or five – your goalkeeper and defenders – that’s your bank box. These guys, if you don’t have them performing at the highest level every time, you can’t do much going forward.
“You can play around with the guys going forward but those [defensive] guys, you see it with Chelsea – near enough the same back five in every game this season and it’s no coincidence that they conceded the least goals, and that they won the championship.”
Carlsberg has launched a new global TV commercial called ‘If Carlsberg did Kickabouts’ to coincide with the kick-off of the Barclays Premier League 2015-16 season, starring former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and UK football presenter Jeff Stelling. The TV commercial sees Carlsberg transform a typical football kickabout in the park into probably the best kickabout in the world.