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Man Utd's keeper FIASCO: Why this NEVER happened under Fergie

COMMENT: First the support. Louis van Gaal and his goalkeepers. There is actually a method to the madness.

As David de Gea and Anders Lindegaard, both fully fit and available, watched on from the director's box, Sergio Romero turned in a man-of-the-match performance on debut in Manchester United's victory over Tottenham.

It was a cleansheet for the Argie, who had not taken part in any friendly action in preseason, and he earned the manager's admiration and praise at the final whistle.

Van Gaal is right with this selection. If De Gea is to leave for Real Madrid and Lindegaard, having requested a move, also finds himself a new club, then these opening Premier League games need to be used to bed down Romero. Given present circumstances, better to risk points now than throw Romero in at the deep end for a Champions League qualifier against Club Brugge next week.

For the moment, that's the tie which must be Van Gaal and United's focus. Even if it all goes to pot on Friday night at a heaving Villa Park, getting through both legs against the Belgians means more than dropping early season points.

Now the whack. That United's goalkeeping stocks are in such a state IS madness.

Romero went into yesterday's game hopelessly underdone. Sam Johnstone had one foot inside Preston North End last week before Van Gaal blocked his loan move. It was Johnstone, not internationals De Gea or Lindegaard, who sat on the bench yesterday. Oh, and we haven't even mentioned Victor Valdes.

That's right, two Spain internationals and a Dane, all fit and on the club's payroll, yet won't be considered for selection by Van Gaal. Instead, United have a freebie from Sampdoria and a lad who was completely ignored by United coaching staff last season, as their first- and second choice keepers with the campaign underway.

Van Gaal's policy makes Blackpool look like a Champions League contender.

The Valdes situation is baffling. The Spaniard is still training at Carrington. He's still mixing with United fans. He's actually doing as good a job as anyone at the club in bolstering their relationship with supporters. Yet, for Van Gaal, he's out of the picture. Valdes must go.

The claims of poor attitude fly in the face of what we've been told about how Valdes has worked with the young players. U21 coach Warren Joyce couldn't stop talking up Valdes and how he used methods learned from Pep Guardiola's Barcelona to inspire his young teammates.

When rejecting Van Gaal's demand that he work with the U21s this preseason, could it be that Valdes had a point? He finished the campaign between the posts for United. He will have signed that three-year deal on the expectation of having every chance to compete for the No1 role - even if De Gea stayed. From a starter at Hull City, to being told to train with the U21s? Then, when you say your piece, you're publicly slaughtered by your manager? You've won everything in the game; played with some of world's greats; never had your professionalism nor attitude questioned. Yet, now Victor Valdes is somehow a black sheep? Really?

There was hope Gines Carvajal, Valdes' agent, could somehow rescue the situation. But seeing the Spaniard not in his club suit at Old Trafford, sitting next to Lindegaard and De Gea, was as clear a statement as he could make. It's over.

Then there's Johnstone. After last season's success at Deepdale, Preston want him back. And he's ready to go - particularly after hearing absolutely nothing from United during that six month loan spell. Johnstone was a key member of the PNE team which won promotion to the Championship. But no-one from Old Trafford picked up the phone to wish him well, or let him know they were watching.

Now, Van Gaal suddenly needs him. But only for now.

Preston have been told they can re-sign Johnstone once United have settled their keeper issues. In other words, we don't actually rate you, Sam, but do us this favour, okay?

David Moyes had to endure comparisons with Sir Alex Ferguson for the year (almost!) he was in charge of United. But what about Van Gaal and his keeper fiasco? Did we ever see anything like this with Fergie?

Ian Turner and Gary Walsh? Jim Leighton and Les Sealey? Taibi, Barthez and Bozza? Fergie had his problems. But he never froze a keeper out - not in the manner of Van Gaal. The Scot dropped and cut his keepers if they weren't up to scratch. But we never saw during the Fergie era what we witnessed in the director's box at Old Trafford yesterday.

For Sir Alex, no matter his feelings towards certain individuals, he always put out the best team available for Manchester United. How can United fans say the same about Van Gaal given those three sitting together in their civvies yesterday?


INJURY TIME

Dumped by Manchester United, Ben Amos enjoyed the perfect start to the new season with Bolton Wanderers.

The England U21 international kept a cleansheet in the Trotters' stalemate with Derby County on Saturday.

Amos spent over 15 years with United, earning international caps from U16 to U21 level along the way. He played for United at Premier League and Champions League level, but was cut loose this summer.

Trotters boss Neil Lennon thinks so highly of Amos that he handed the 25 year-old a four-year contract.


PENALTY KICKS

Could Obbi Oulare be auditioning for a Manchester United move next week?

The Club Brugge centre-forward was watched by Louis van Gaal scouts last season and has kicked off this term in great goalscoring style.

The powerful, free-running striker was among the goalscorers in Club Brugge's 3-0 victory over Panathinaikos which set them up for next week's plum tie against United.

We know Van Gaal takes notice of those young players who make an impact against United. It was Danny Ings' performance at Old Trafford last season which led to Van Gaal asking after the then Burnley striker ahead of his move to Liverpool.

With the No9 shirt sitting vacant, a couple of five-star performances from Oulare - home and away - could be enough to win him that dream move to Old Trafford.

Chris Beattie
About the author

Chris Beattie

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