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Jan 10, 2011

Kuszczak: I can be Fergie's new No. 1

Tomasz Kuszczak is determined to prove he can replace Edwin van der Sar as Manchester United's new first-choice goalkeeper.

• Adler wants dream United move
• On the Move: Transfer blog

Van der Sar announced last month that he intends to retire at the end of the season, leaving one of the most demanding jobs in the game up for grabs.

It took Sir Alex Ferguson 11 attempts to find an adequate replacement for Peter Schmeichel when the great Dane left Old Trafford in 1999, leaving the United manager to lament why he did not snap up Van der Sar in the first place as he had intended.

Now Ferguson is facing a similar problem. One potential replacement has already been signed following the arrival of Denmark international Anders Lindegaard from Aalesund and there is plenty of speculation a bigger name could follow, with Germany duo Rene Adler and Manuel Neuer amongst those mentioned, along with Dutch World Cup star Maarten Stekelenburg.

However, Kuszczak believes he provides a much more starightforward solution to Ferguson's goalkeeping dilemma, and after starting United's past three games in a row - the first time he has done so in 12 months - the Polish custodian says he has what it takes to be United's new No. 1.

"Every game is massive for me,'' Kuszczak said. "I want to show that I can take over from Edwin. For us young players, we have to be ready. When we play, we must play very well.''

Kuszczak can certainly be satisfied with the part he has played in three successive wins, which have cemented United's position at the top of the Premier League, while also booking an FA Cup fourth-round meeting with Southampton in three weeks' time - a game in which he is almost certain to feature.

"There has been all this speculation about my future but I am hopeful I can play more,'' Kuszczak said. "There has always been competition for this club and there always will be.

"This is how football works. I intend to do well all the time when I get a chance to play. That is what would give me a future at United.

"I know I have not got the biggest name in the world, and I do not want this to sound arrogant... I think I am good enough. I have talked to the boss (Sir Alex Ferguson) a few times and he said we will see what happens at the end of the season.

"I know that in the meantime if I get a chance I have to play well because that is the only way I am going to impress him. If Sir Alex Ferguson decides I am not good enough, then I will look for another club. Everything is open now. I am realistic about my situation.

"It would not frighten me to take over as Edwin's successor. Why should it? I am not new here. If I play for this club long term I will be really happy because that has always been my dream. I came to Manchester to try to be a top goalkeeper for many years like my idol Peter Schmeichel.''

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