For all United's attacking strength, the goalkeeper is also key to any team with titles and trophies in its sights. Goalkeeping coach Eric Steele spoke to ManUtd.com's Gemma Thompson on tour about how his department is shaping up for the new season...
The keepers have been working very hard on tour and I’m delighted with how things have gone.
The week at Carrington before we flew out here helped give them a base for this trip - it’s a gradual build-up to the first game and that first week is always very important. There can be a tendency to try and do too much when you first come back into training but we explained to them that it’s about being ready for the Newcastle game that matters. The first week back is about getting that base, whereas the second and third weeks are when they start to link in with Mick (Phelan) and Rene (Meulensteen) and the main group and the lads have responded very well throughout. As a coach, it’s nice to have the different stages in terms of development and age and it’s a pleasure to train with three lads who work so well together. We in the goalkeepers’ union stick together and whoever gets the shirt will get the backing from me and their fellow keepers.
Eric on... Edwin van der Sar
When you watch Edwin in training he is as hungry and committed as ever. He stayed on for another year for two big reasons - to be number one and to win things, and I also think he’ll continue to play a huge part on and off the field in terms of being a great senior pro for the young lads to look up to. I'll never forget asking Ben Amos how he felt when he heard Edwin was signing for another year - the first thing he said was, "It's fantastic because I'll get to work with him for another season." He wasn't concerned
about how it affected his position - he was just excited to be able to learn more from, certainly one of the best keepers I’ve ever worked with. He’s up there with the greats of the game and is a real credit to his profession.
Eric on... Tomasz Kuszczak
Tomasz knows this is a big season for him with Ben Foster now having left us. He needs to keep pushing himself to challenge Edwin, but at the same time he knows Ben Amos will be right behind him. Tomasz did extremely well when he came into the team last season when Edwin was injured. It was a very difficult situation for him given the amount of injuries we had at the back and he never really played behind a settled back four, in fact he was playing