Van der Sar v Schmeichel

Jaap Stam explains why Edwin van der Sar is slightly better than Peter Schmeichel

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Edwin van der Sar and Peter Schmeichel are widely considered to be Man United’s two greatest goalkeepers and Jaap Stam is lucky enough to have played with both of them.

The current Reading manager joined United in 1998 when Schmeichel was the club’s no.1, while he spent many years playing with Van der Sar in the Netherlands team.

But who was better? It’s a difficult choice, as there was nothing to separate them as shot-stoppers, according to Stam, but Van der Sar had a slight edge.

“Edwin was a better player with the ball at his feet, which would suit how I like my team to play – passing out from the back,” he told Four Four Two when picking a team of the best players he has ever shared the pitch with.

Stam left United four years before Van der Sar arrived in 2005, but claimed he previously recommended his compatriot to the club, joking that his bosses ignored him, with the goalkeeper joining Juventus instead.

“When Pete eventually left Man United in 1999, I told them that Edwin would be a good replacement for him, but it was another six years before they actually listened!”

Alex Ferguson later revealed the problems he had in filling the void left by Schmeichel’s exit left and says the club should have signed the Dutchman sooner, adding he is among his best ever signings considering just £2m was spent on him.

“We really should have gone for him when Schmeichel left, but [former chairman] Martin Edwards had an agreement with Mark Bosnich at the time that took the wind out of our sails. So we couldn’t get Edwin, but I’d have loved to have got him then,” he said in 2009.

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