Van der Sar to skipper United

Van der Sar to skipper United

Published May. 21, 2011 12:50 p.m. ET

Edwin van der Sar will be handed the honour of skippering Manchester United in his final Premier League appearance on Sunday.

Van der Sar has proved to be a superb acquisition since his arrival from Fulham six years ago, proving Ferguson was wrong to let him slip through his fingers when Peter Schmeichel quit in 1999.

Now the 40-year-old will be given the captain's armband for the visit of Blackpool, a fitting tribute to an outstanding career, which will end with his fifth Champions League final.

"He has been fantastic. Absolutely sensational," said Ferguson.


"Edwin's professionalism and dedication have been fabulous.

"A goalkeeper's training is completely different from an outfield player. It involves diving about the goalmouth all the time, saving shots and blocks.

"It is hard to imagine a normal person being able to do that when they were over 40. But he is special. He has something inside him.

"Some people have a certain quality that involves them needing to be a winner all the time. That is what Edwin has been.

"He has had a great career. He has won four titles with us, Wembley will be his fifth European Cup final and he has more caps than anyone else in Holland.

"It has been a fantastic career and he is going out at the very top."

Van der Sar will be part of a strong United line-up on Sunday even if Ferguson chooses to field solely reserves alongside the six senior players he has named as certain members of his starting side.

Dimitar Berbatov will get a chance to secure the Golden Boot prize, having been joined on 20 in midweek by former United striker Carlos Tevez.

The Bulgarian has started just four out of United's last 16 games and scored just twice since his double against Blackpool in the memorable comeback at Bloomfield Road in January.

For the second time, it seems the best he can expect of a Champions League final is a place on the bench, although Ferguson insists he has had little option with his £30.75million record signing.

"The emergence of Javier Hernandez has made it difficult for me to put Dimitar above him," said Ferguson.

"His performance levels, goals, freshness and pace are fantastic.

"Dimitar understands that. He never complains. He will play on Sunday and hopefully he will be the top goalscorer."

Like Van der Sar, Paul Scholes could be making his last Premier League appearance.

Anderson and Patrice Evra have also been promised starting slots, along with Darren Fletcher.

The Scotland skipper was suspended for the 2009 final in Rome and his absence was viewed as a major factor in United's meek surrender.

Having not yet re-established himself after the virus that sidelined him for a couple of months, Fletcher is facing the prospect of a different kind of heartbreak this time around.

However, Ferguson is determined to give the combative midfielder every chance of being involved.

"Darren is a big game player, which is why we are giving him every opportunity to be fit," said Ferguson.

"He is much better now and is getting stronger.

"He was a loss last time, so we are chasing him along a bit because he is keen to get there."