For large chunks of the second half of yesterday’s 2-0 win over Arsenal in the FA Cup, Manchester United fans repeatedly sung about Edwin Van der Sar. First his name was chanted, then “Fergie, sign him up!” followed by “one more year”, urging the great goalie, who was named Man of the Match yesterday, to delay his retirement. Van der Sar applauded the Stretford End during the game as the songs became louder and louder.

After the game, Wayne Rooney spoke to Van der Sar about the fans’ chants but doesn’t think we’ll get our way.

“The players are trying to persuade Edwin to stay on too,” Rooney said. “I was speaking to him in the shower afterwards but it is his decision and we have to respect it. He is such a great goalkeeper. Despite his age he is still the best keeper in the world.”

Sir Alex Ferguson hinted at the possibility of Edwin staying on at the club as a coach but is sure that the keeper won’t carry on playing.

“There is no chance of Edwin changing his mind, definitely not,” he said. “He’s marvellous, absolutely brilliant and a fantastic man. But I haven’t spoken to him about changing his mind. He has got his plans for next year. He is taking a break and going back to Holland, where he has a new house and he is going to do a bit of work there. Then he is going to return here for September when his son starts school in Wilmslow. I think that is his plan. He is going to take a break from football, then come back in. There are possibilities there for us, but first he is taking a break. He hasn’t made his mind up about what to do after that. He has had a long period in the game and is coming up to 41. He wants to spend some time with his wife because she has had a tough couple of years.”




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