Van der Sar not thinking of retirement

Van der Sar will reach the landmark in October, by which time he
hopes to be well on the way to another fine season for the Old
Trafford outfit. When he arrived from Fulham in a cut-price deal,
it was supposed to be a stop-gap for Sir Alex Ferguson, who was
still struggling to find an adequate replacement for Peter
Schmeichel. Now in his sixth season, van der Sar remains as
reliable as ever, with Ben Foster becoming the latest to abandon to
quest to battle with the veteran Dutchman when he left Old Trafford
for Birmingham this summer. Age must catch up with Van der Sar
eventually. But on recent evidence, there is plenty of life in the
former Ajax man yet. And he certainly is not naming the day when he
hangs up his gloves for the last time. “I don’t worry about when
that day arrives,” he said. “I am now exceeding my own expectations
so it doesn’t bother me. “When I was younger I thought maybe I
would finish in my mid-30s. But that is a normal time to be
thinking about it when you are younger and for players at this
level. “That would have been the obvious time to finish but I only
came to United late in my career and maybe that is why I am still
enjoying it. “Coming to Old Trafford probably gave me a new lease
of life.” With each passing season Ferguson must question why he
allowed Van der Sar to join Juventus in 1999 when he was first
giving serious thought to making the keeper a Red Devil. Of all
Schmeichel’s successors, he is the one who has come closest to
matching the great Dane’s extraordinary achievements, a feat
Ferguson is quick to acknowledge. “The club have to be happy,” he
said. “If they are not happy with the quality you are producing
then there is no need to keep on going. “I broke two fingers in
pre-season last year and then got another knee injury later on but
every time I was fit I was picked again so that was a good sign for
me. “It proved he still had confidence in me and my qualities and
ability. “It is always nice when you work hard to get back and then
the first opportunity to put you back in the team he does it. It is
important to know he has that faith.” Although Van der Sar retired
from international duty after the last European Championships,
there was some talk that Bert van Marwijk might call on him again
this summer for the World Cup. As it turned out, the man who won a
record 130 caps for the ‘Oranje’ watched the tournament at home,
desperately wanting Holland to overcome Spain in the final, whilst
knowing there would have been a nagging knot in his stomach if
Giovanni van Bronkhorst and his men had come through. “You make a
decision in life, sometimes you go back on it and sometimes you
stay with it,” he reflected. “I would have been really happy if
Holland had won the World Cup but I suppose then I would have
missed something on my list. “But I have achieved a few other
things so I cannot complain.”