Anders Lindegaard

Anders Lindegaard exclusive: Pogba and Manchester United are the perfect match

Former Manchester United keeper Anders Lindegaard has expressed his delight at the club’s big-money purchase of his ex-team mate Paul Pogba.
“He’s a great player. I’ve played with him myself at Manchester United and he was an obvious talent. I’m happy for the club because it’s a great signing for them and I’m happy for Paul that everything went through.”

The world record breaking fee however – believed to be in the region of £89m – is another matter entirely with the big Dane concerned that it is further proof of the 13 times Premier League champions’ need to abandon their traditional values in order to compete in the lavish, crazy world of modern football.

“This is definitely a new chapter. United are a different club to when I was there. It’s run in a different way and built on different values. Unfortunately this is just a natural development with how football is going and it doesn’t change my feelings for them.”

“Everything is about money and I know United have spent a lot of money over the past decades which is a big part of why they’re so successful but it’s just getting more and more extreme. You can’t prevent it so I guess you just have to embrace it and do as well as you can in that environment.”

Lindegaard – now guarding the nets at Championship side Preston North End – admits that United are far more than just a former employer: with his ‘devil heart’ he remains an ardent fan which means he has some personal investment in the mind-boggling sum that finally ended the protracted chase for the Juventus ace. Ultimately though pragmatism wins out.

“It is reality and only going in one direction. Journalists will ask these same questions in five years when players start costing a quarter of a billion. It is what it is and it’s the direction of modern football. We cannot change it you and I. Everything gets more expensive.”

The 32 year old was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson from Norwegian club Aalesund in 2010 and though he largely found his route to the first team blocked by an emerging David De Gea proved to be a popular and ever-reliable figure at the club. Having played under arguably the greatest ever manager in British football his thoughts then on the arrival of Jose Mourinho – the Scot’s eventual successor to the Old Trafford throne - are pertinent.

“United are going to be successful under Mourinho. They have obviously spent a lot of money but have bought quite wisely and with Mourinho’s track record in how he performs in his first year at clubs I’m sure United are going to push for the title. I think it’s between them and Manchester City.”

And what of his friend and former colleague Wayne Rooney, who many believe will enjoy less influence under Jose’s regime? Lindegaard dismisses such negativity.

“He’s going to be important and Wayne will blossom under Mourinho. He’s always fancied Wazza as a football player and I remember him saying several times that he considered him one of the best in the world. He fits right in to Mourinho’s philosophy and he’s going to do great.”

“Everybody knows how determined he is and how hard he works so he will suit a more direct style of playing and for me he will play just off the main striker.”

Last season a struggling and ponderous United all-too-often relied on the brilliance of De Gea to keep their top four aspirations afloat and the Spanish stopper is now rightfully viewed as being among the world’s elite. During Lindegaard’s time there however both keepers challenged fair and square for the jersey and the proud Dane found it tough to be ultimately relegated as back-up. It prompted a frustrated and famous line about not being at the club ‘to pick my nose’, a quote that he now says ‘has bitten my ass quite a bit and still to this day when I log on to Twitter I have people be brutal about it’ but does illustrate his professional honour to not settle for the bench.

Regarding De Gea are the lofty claims that are now afforded him justified?

“He is up there definitely. I’m really happy that I’ve had the pleasure of playing with him and to see his development. He’s not only a great goalkeeper but a really nice guy. To label the best goalkeeper in the world is down to your preferences in how you want a goalkeeper to be like. He is very different from Manuel Neuer, or Lloris; Petr Cech or Courtois. So he’s got aspects of the game where you can say he is definitely the best in the world. He is mentally very strong and pulls off some fantastic saves. In those two areas he is the best and will only get better in the next ten years.”

Which is a truly frightening proposition for Premier League strikers. As for Preston they have a superb and accomplished number one who doesn’t only concern himself with his own performance but cares about the game itself.


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