Edwin van der Sar with Andre Onana at Ajax

Onana hails van der Sar impact

Tuesday 07 November 2023 08:00

Andre Onana has opened up on the bond he struck with former United goalkeeping great Edwin van der Sar while at Ajax.

Van der Sar is currently recovering with our best wishes from the brain haemorrhage he suffered in the summer, shortly after leaving his role as chief executive of the Dutch giants.

Edwin and Andre were employees of the Amsterdam club between 2015 and 2022 and the Cameroonian has revealed he would use the retired stopper as a sounding board, with the pair even training together occasionally.

Onana has kept in touch with the Champions League winner, speaking to him recently, and is clearly very grateful for the role Edwin has played in his career.

“Of course I had a good relationship with him,” Onana said, in a brand-new episode of TeamViewer Diaries.

TeamViewer Diaries: Andre Onana Video

TeamViewer Diaries: Andre Onana

TeamViewer Diaries | Andre Onana opens up on modern goalkeeping and his relationship with Edwin van der Sar…

“By the way, I spoke with him when I heard the bad news of him, but he is getting well.

“He had a great impact. I was with him in Ajax back in the days. We had a great, great time. We were training sometimes together and he advised me a lot.

“He was happy when I joined Manchester United.

“He advised me a lot during the game, after the game, especially if I was making mistakes!” added Andre.

“He was coming through all the way to the dressing room or to the training session to speak with me and he helped me to build that personality, you know?

“I will always be thankful to him.”

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Van der Sar was one of the pioneers of modern goalkeeping, developing under Louis van Gaal into a true ‘sweeper-keeper’ during the 1990s before moving to Italy and then England, where he spent arguably his peak years.

The position has constantly developed during the intervening three decades and Onana is seen as representative of a new breed, equally as comfortable with their feet as they are with their hands.

Onana agrees that the sport has evolved hugely and he’s more than comfortable with the demands on the position.

“To be honest, now football is so different. You know, I think the position has changed in the last 20 years.

“Now the goalkeeper is like [having] another player more, you know? And when you look at the way most of the teams want to play, now they use the goalkeeper as a plus one.

“I consider myself as a modern goalkeeper, so I'm not afraid to make mistakes.

“I'm not afraid to take risks and I would take risks because the way I play is what brought me to Manchester United, one of the best clubs in the world, and I will not drop. I will never drop. I will only go forward. I can make mistakes and mistakes are a part of life.”

View all episodes of TeamViewer Diaries here.