Edwin Van der Sar believes if he maintains another clean sheet today it will be a very big warning to all title rivals especially Liverpool. Sir Alex Ferguson has put him on the same goalkeeping pedestal as Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel.
But while their abilities are comparable, Ferguson says the two could not be more different in style and personality. Whereas Schmeichel, who starred for United between 1991 and 1999, was Mr Mad and had frequent bust-ups with his defenders in his pursuit of defensive perfection, Van der Sar is Mr Cool, preferring composure to kicking backsides.
“They’re two different goalkeepers and it’s very difficult to compare,” said Ferguson.
“Peter was a fanatic goalkeeper who let his physical and emotional energies show. Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister [United’s central defenders in the early to mid-Nineties] got a terrible time off him. He would come out and give them a real rollocking and they would say, ‘Get back in goal you Danish so and so.’ When they really didn’t like him they called him German.
“Schmeichel made saves out of this world and his presence was so huge in major games. We never thought we’d get a keeper that would get anywhere near Schmeichel, but with Edwin we see a different type of keeper, a technician. He’s about concentration and composure, calming everyone around him. He never looks under pressure.”
Van der Sar has already broken Petr Cech’s Premier League record, Steve De’Ath’s all-time English league record and Bobby Clark’s all-time British (both the English and Scottish Leagues) record in a shut-out run that has lasted 1,212 minutes, stretching back to Sami Nasr’s goal in the 48th minute of United’s 2-1 defeat at Arsenal on November 8.