Van der Sar in no hurry over new contract

August 1, 2007

Edwin van der Sar will not make a decision over his Manchester United future until January at the earliest.

The giant Dutchman is about to enter the final year of his contract aware the spotlight will be on him after a series of below-par performances at the end of last season.

With Ben Foster ruled out until March following cruciate ligament surgery, Tomasz Kuszczak will remain the only realistic threat to the 36-year-old's first-team spot.

But, while van der Sar seems assured of his starting place for Sunday's Community Shield showdown with Chelsea and the Premier League opener against Reading seven days later, he expects it to be some time before he sits down with Sir Alex Ferguson and decides whether to extend his career beyond next summer.

'Last season was a long campaign but I had a long break and I feel good,' he told the club's official website. 'I am not thinking about what is going to happen. If I am still enjoying myself, then we will see but nothing will be decided before January.'

Van der Sar will be eager to start the new campaign in good form.

High-profile blunders against Portsmouth and Roma last term were put down to the after-effects of the broken nose he suffered at Tottenham a month previously.

But van der Sar knows that any repeat will only result in Kuszczak getting his chance.

'You always have to be at your best at United,' he said. 'If you are not, someone else is always ready to take your place.

'I did not have the same consistency at the end of last season as I had in the previous campaign. I don't know why.

'But when you make mistakes, you look at how to improve and then get on with it.'

With United's major rivals all strengthening, van der Sar is more convinced than ever that the Red Devils need to make a fast start in order to safeguard their title.

Away trips to big-spending duo Portsmouth and Manchester City follow the Reading encounter, so van der Sar knows it will not be easy.

Nevertheless, nine points in the first week would send out a sign of strength by the men from Old Trafford.

'We must make sure we get off to a good start, like we did last season,' he said. 'We have three games in the first week and it is important we do well in them otherwise we can end up under pressure straight away.

'From then on, the team will grow and the new players will learn what is expected of them.'