Van der Sar dreading farewell

BY foxsports • May 21, 2011

After rejecting numerous pleas from his team-mates to abandon his retirement plans, Van der Sar is due to be handed the captain's armband by Sir Alex Ferguson for his final league game in Manchester United colours. Not normally prone to moments of emotion, the 40-year-old did not even start thinking about the prospect of retirement until a couple of weeks ago. However, the enormity of life away from the stresses and strains of training and matches has now started to sink in, making tomorrow's occasion all the more difficult. "I am not looking forward to it," Van der Sar told MUTV. "It is a sad moment. You don't look forward to those. I just have to make the best of it. "I wouldn't say it has come round quickly. I had not really been thinking about it. Once I knew what I was going to do, I remained focussed on the games and the training. "It is only in the last two weeks that it has really sunk in that I am running out of time. "Hopefully though, the memories I will get this weekend I will be able to keep with me for the rest of my life." Van der Sar still has a big job to do. Next week he will be gearing up for an incredible fifth Champions League final, hoping to keep out a Barcelona side that spoiled his night in Rome by beating him twice a couple of years ago. There is the far more relaxed environment of Gary Neville's testimonial on Tuesday as well. Tomorrow though, it will be the supporters of Wigan, Birmingham, Wolves and Blackburn who are cheering Van der Sar on, desperately hoping he shuts Blackpool out to minimise the Tangerines' chances of staying in the top flight. Ian Holloway has been in particularly feisty mood this week, claiming there are some within the Premier League who will be glad to see the back of him. Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore denies this. And if Holloway was no longer around, life would be poorer for someone else who could be making his final United appearance. "Ian Holloway's press conferences are brilliant," said Paul Scholes. "Listening to what he has to say is something to look forward to on a Friday afternoon. "He has been great for Blackpool. The way they have approached the season is a breath of fresh air. "They want to come out and score goals and even against us, I am sure they won't just try to sneak the odd goal and defend." The idea Scholes might not be interested in winning, or could get over-emotional about the consequences of a United victory on Blackpool's plight, is absurd. In fact, it could be argued that by leaving out most of the players he intends to select at Wembley, Sir Alex Ferguson is making it harder for the Tangerines. After all, there are still places on the bench up for grabs, ensuring no-one will be shirking any tackles. "Whoever plays has a big job on because they want to be involved the week afterwards," said Scholes. "We have a big squad with a lot of players, so nothing can be taken for granted. "There is no doubt the Champions League is our priority but there is still plenty of incentive for us to win the game." Ferguson has already confirmed Patrice Evra, Darren Fletcher, Anderson and Golden Boot hopeful Dimitar Berbatov will start tomorrow. Wes Brown and Gabriel Obertan are other possibles, along with Darron Gibson, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling.


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