United Youth

Manchester United Reserves & Academy News

Sir Alex’s show of faith in Amos – a double-edged sword?

Posted by nickogs20 on May 20, 2010

With Ben Foster joining Birmingham City this week for a fee mooted to be in the region of £6m, Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that he won’t be looking to sign a replacement, instead preferring to promote 20 year-old reserve goalkeeper Ben Amos to the first team squad.

Speaking on Tuesday at a press conference in New York to promote the club’s upcoming pre-season tour of North America, Sir Alex confirmed the imminent departure of Foster and delivered a ringing endorsement of his younger namesake:

“When we decided to let Ben [Foster] go, we were in the process of letting a good young goalkeeper, Ben Amos, go out on loan. He’s in the England Under-21 team but we can only accommodate three goalkeepers. So when the situation with Ben [Foster]’s future at United came into it and we agreed to let him go, we stopped Ben Amos from going on loan. He will now be our third keeper. He’s very talented and has a good future ahead of him.”

Amos is viewed as one of the most promising young goalkeepers in the country and has excelled for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reserve side over the last couple of years, earning a first team start in late 2008 and regular call-ups at various England youth levels. The Macclesfield-born stopper is currently out on loan at Norwegian club Molde, where his first extended involvement in senior football should prove invaluable ahead of making the step up at United next season.

Despite his obvious ability and potential however, arguably the biggest factor in Ben’s elevation to third choice is the Premier League’s introduction of new squad rules for next season. With clubs required to name squads of 25 senior players but allowed to use an unlimited number of played aged 21 or under, most clubs are likely to carry just the two senior goalkeepers with a younger third choice, freeing up an extra spot in the senior group for an outfield player. In United’s case for example (while acknowledging the squad is subject to plenty of change over the summer), having Amos as third choice rather than Foster or another senior keeper allows Sir Alex to register Mexican striker Javier Hernandez, who joins on July 1st.

This begs the question as to whether this is really a positive development in Amos’ career. Seems a strange thing to say on the face of it – being promoted to the Manchester United first team squad and praised in glowing terms by the greatest manager in the game is the stuff of dreams after all. Regardless, Sir Alex’s words above indicate that Ben was all set to go out on loan again next season, something the player has himself stated in recent interviews with the Norwegian media, and that was presumably because all parties understandably considered that to be the best next step in his career. Now things have clearly changed, and while you can see the reasoning and the short-term benefits for both club and player, you have to wonder whether the probable lack of games next season (barring injury to Messrs van der Sar and Kuszczak) might ultimately prove to hinder the 20 year-old’s long-term development.

7 Responses to “Sir Alex’s show of faith in Amos – a double-edged sword?”

  1. Bishopville Red said

    I have no problem with this. Ben Foster is 27 now, and while that means as a goalkeeper he still has a fair few years ahead of him, he simply has not progressed. He had a chance that dreams are made of at the start of this year and all we learned was how much we miss a 40 year old.

    Best of luck at Birmingham.

    Ben is dead. Long live Ben!


  2. norries said

    true, certainly true, i am of the obinion that, afta the loan at senior level at molde, 2 appearances in the league & fa cup, and trainng wit 2 world class kprs will help hm immensly. 2 appearance i pray 4 hm, plz.

  3. harts83 said

    It only takes one injury/suspension and the lad will be on the bench. He’ll no doubt be involved in all the first team training from now on (if he wasn’t anyway) and he’ll grow as a man knowing he’s a part of it now.

    Next summer is going to be very interesting regarding keepers. VDS is likely to retire, Kuszczak won’t be happy if fergie replaces VDS with someone else and Amos may well become 2nd fiddle.

    I’m all for youth and hopefully Amos will excel but i wish we had gone for Joe Hart when he was younger at Shrewsbury i think it was. Confident young lad Hart.

  4. GBG Red said

    I believe and extended loan may have been more beneficial in the long run but the new quota system has lead to this. My fear for him would be what happens when he is no longer covered by the U21 rule. Does he move up/go on loan/leave. BTW what is happening to Tom Heaton, has he left? Out of contract?

  5. nickogs20 said

    Heaton’s out of contract yes, he’ll be looking for a new club this summer.

  6. Vishnu said

    i think its a good thing that Sir Alex is planning to help in the development of his young keeper. If De Gea and Sergio Asenjo can play UEFA Europa League finals at the age of 22 and 20, Amos should be able to gain Carling Cup, FA CUP and some of the “pointless” Champions league experience. Given the chance to fail at the top level is what the kids need. Because if we believe in him well enough, and if he develops an understanding with Vdic, Ferdinand, Evans and Smalling over the summer, he may be confident enough to “command” the defence and learn the “sweeper role” that VDS plays.

  7. rbr said


    Any news about new youth intakes?

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