The search for Edwin van der Sar’s replacement is at last gaining some focus. It has been widely reported that Manchester United goalkeeping coach Eric Steele travelled to Germany at the weekend to watch Leverkusen face Schalke, so that he could run the rule over both Leverkusen stopper Rene Adler and Schalke custodian Manuel Neuer. What will he have learned from his trip?
Adler was not a busy man, virtually a spectator until his 60th minute save from Jurado, which he solidly parried to safety.
Far more will have been learned about Neuer, who made a number of outstanding saves, including two in the first ten minutes and a supert one-on-one stop later in the game. Neuer was almost single handedly responsible for keeping the scoreline respectable. Of course, whilst this outlines his excellent shot-stopping ability, will it lead Steele to call into question his organizational skills?
Leverkusen won the game 2-0 at a canter, and Neuer can be blamed for neither goal. The first was a rocket from Erin Derdiyok, and the second a disastrous own goal by Christoph Metzelder.
Steele will have to travel to Germany again if he wants to see Adler genuinely tested, but he will now have a good idea if Neuer is the one to replace Edwin van der Sar. I have already made it clear that I see Neuer as the one, and the fact that Steele is taking the time to personally watch him play bodes well for the summer.