30/01/2009 15:24, Report by Adam Bostock
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Edwin's award

The Barclays Merit Award was in safe hands at Carrington on Friday - those of Edwin van der Sar.

The United goalkeeper collected the award after breaking the Barclays Premier League record for minutes played without conceding a goal, spanning 11 consecutive clean sheets from Stoke City on 15 November to West Brom this week.

Speaking about the achievement on Friday, Sir Alex Ferguson said: "Eleven clean sheets is an incredible record and Edwin has been a key figure in that.

"He’s in the twilight of his career, and the form of his life. His performances have been absolutely fantastic."

It seems the only regret Sir Alex has about Edwin's Old Trafford career is that it didn't start a decade ago.

"It was a mistake not getting Edwin in 1999," admitted the United manager. "I wanted him, but Martin Edwards had already done a deal with Mark Bosnich, and it was too late. He went to Juventus."

Sir Alex eventually got his man six years later in July 2005, after van der Sar had acclimatised to English football with Fulham.

"All through that season (before Edwin signed for United), we were assessing the goalkeeper situation," recalls Sir Alex.

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Record breaker

Edwin van der Sar's record of consecutive minutes without conceding a goal stands at 1,032 prior to kick-off against Everton.

The last player to score past Edwin in the Barclays Premier League was Arsenal's Samir Nasri. He scored both goals in the Gunners' 2-1 victory at the Emirates on 8 November 2008, the historical second coming in the 48th minute.


Premier League