Anders Lindegaard is strikingly trustworthy, open and self-reflective. A member of Manchester United’s final Premier League champions of 2012-13, the Helsingborg goalkeeper has a vivid recall, too, of a 15-year profession that has additionally taken in Odense, Aalesund, West Bromwich Albion, Preston North Finish and Burnley.
As an illustration, the 37-year-old outlines the second Sir Alex Ferguson known as him in 2010 when Lindegaard was with Aalesund, a first-tier Norwegian membership. “I was in a grocery store and needed to stroll out and name my dad and mom. I was like: ‘What the fuck is occurring?’ It was not simply taking a step from taking part in Scandinavian soccer and going to a greater membership. It was going to my finish vacation spot. The place I’d all the time dreamed of. Manchester United. It was Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Sir Alex Ferguson. Those I’d adopted since I was a tiny child.”
Lindegaard would dwell his United fantasy and grow to be an English title winner nevertheless it was colored by the despair of a critical harm suffered in coaching minutes after being knowledgeable that he had outdated David de Gea as first alternative. After departing the membership, Lindegaard must work out his priorities, placing a younger son first, as a troubled personal life turned him “bitter” about England, a view that point has restored to a passion for the nation.
His transfer to United ended a protracted switch saga. “It ended up taking the edge from my sport,” he says. “You surprise: ‘Are they right here in the present day?’ I keep in mind we performed European soccer simply earlier than the switch window closed [in August 2010]: Motherwell away. Unexpectedly, it wasn’t simply Manchester United. It was Arsenal, Celtic, Ajax, Bayern Munich who had been .
“On the method, in the airport, the membership director mentioned: ‘In case you play properly, you’ll undoubtedly be offered to considered one of the largest golf equipment.’ Then he walked away. I was like: ‘Fucking hell, mate. Simply let me play. I don’t wish to consider the penalties of constructing an enormous mistake.’ I didn’t play badly however nothing occurred in that window.”
Months later it did, however not earlier than dinner with Eric Steele, United’s goalkeeper coach. “Aalesund performed a sport in Oslo and Eric got here to observe and we had a meal collectively. He mentioned: ‘We are able to see you’ve bought one thing particular however our concern is: how will you react in entrance of 80,000? We don’t know.’
“Simply after this Denmark performed Portugal and 20 minutes in Thomas Sørensen will get an harm, and, as the back-up, I’m thrown into the very situation United highlighted – a high-profile sport – and I had Cristiano Ronaldo on toast with six or seven world-class saves. The following day United known as and mentioned: ‘You satisfied us.’”
Lindegaard signed in November 2010 for £3.5m and made his debut the following January in an FA Cup win over Southampton, the first of two appearances in the competitors and his solely ones that season. In the subsequent, got here his first probabilities for the membership in the Champions League – a draw at Benfica – and the Premier League, in a victory over Norwich at Previous Trafford.
By early 2012 he had made 11 appearances that season, 5 of those in the league between 21 December – a win in opposition to Fulham – and 22 January, victory at Arsenal. Lindegaard was residing his dream however was about to undergo harm heartbreak.
“Eric got here to me at Carrington and mentioned: ‘The gaffer may be very pleased with you. You’re going to play the remainder of the season in the Premier League. David [de Gea] goes to play in Europe.’
“I was thrilled however in coaching the similar morning I was punching a ball over a model and bought my foot caught and twisted my ankle. I lay on the ground and began crying – my entire world was falling aside.
“I was out for the remainder of that season. The following one, I couldn’t bounce off my proper foot. My kicking was horrendous. I was not mature sufficient to say: ‘My ankle just isn’t proper.’ I knew it was shut between David and me and that David had little room for error earlier than I’d get an opportunity. And I did – at Southampton, we received 3-2 and I then performed a string of video games.”
From 2-29 September Lindegaard was chosen for 4 consecutive league matches, then Ferguson went again to De Gea, earlier than the Dane was recalled for a subsequent begin on 17 November, briefly retaining his place earlier than being dropped once more after a 4-3 victory at Studying. He returned six months later when United had secured the championship, for a defeat by Chelsea and the 5-5 draw at West Brom, Ferguson’s managerial swansong.
“We received at Studying however I performed a horrible match and he dropped me. I was nearly relieved as a result of I may focus on attempting to get my ankle proper. However, that was it. I performed at the finish of the season together with the final sport of Ferguson’s profession – one other horrible show from me.”
Lindegaard has an attention-grabbing take on his league winner’s medal. “I’m tremendous pleased with it, nevertheless it was not me who received that title,” he says. “I’m conscious that in the nice historical past of Manchester United I’m a whisper in the wind.”
Lindegaard left United for West Brom in August 2015 having made 19 league appearances, 5 in the FA Cup, two the League Cup and three in the Champions League. Earlier than the transfer to Helsingborg 4 years later he performed as soon as for West Brom in a single season there, 24 occasions for Preston throughout a mortgage and everlasting switch, and twice for Burnley between September 2017 and July 2019, as his private life encroached.
Of his United profession Lindegaard says: “I in all probability did what was anticipated however not what I dreamt. Why? I’ve concluded that Anders Lindegaard at 100% may make a distinction. It was not sufficient to be 90% and I dropped to 60%, God is aware of how low, with the harm.
“I had chaos in my private life, too, which was in all probability extra important. If that’s not understanding you’re in bother. Once I joined Preston I spent as much as a yr attempting to determine my life. Then, at Burnley, two years devoted to my son, who had been born in December 2012. I introduced a toddler into the world and that’s your most necessary job. I want I may have centered 100% on soccer with out having to fret about what’s going on after I bought dwelling. However I’m not on the lookout for folks’s pity.”
He was, although, soured by expertise. “I look again at my years in England and have regrets,” says Lindegaard. “I become this bitter human being who was sick of England. It grew to become apparent that it’s a capitalistic society the place the wealthy have fooled the poor to go away Europe [Brexit]. My prepare of thought was poisoned resulting from a horrible personal life. I lived in Wilmslow – it’s a gorgeous place and when my son was born, in Wythenshawe hospital, he was there for every week as he wasn’t properly.
“One time when visiting him – I wasn’t allowed to remain at the hospital – I went in a grocery retailer close by to purchase fruit. I keep in mind these bloody hams, blown up by water and so they regarded disgusting. And lots of in English society live in a spot like this? I believed there’s one thing fallacious: I can dwell the place I dwell and see the folks with their Chanel baggage and Rolex watches, and there’s this as properly.
“However there’s some very lovely issues in England. To begin with, you might be a tremendous folks – the shit you undergo and nonetheless have a smile on your face.”
Lindegaard has discovered peace residing in Copenhagen – from the place he drives over the border to play for Helsingborg – along with his “missus”, son and second baby, with a 3rd one due. He stays considerate about many points.
Of the racism that plagues footballers and wider society, Lindegaard says: “We’ve got a WhatsApp group from the final Sir Alex group and I actually perceive these in it who’re sick of all these campaigns to kick racism out of soccer. Fuck that. Cease campaigning. You bought to do one thing about it. These folks must be prosecuted.”
Lindegaard is talking the day after a loss for Helsingborg, who play in Sweden’s second tier. His annoyance at the defeat illustrates how a love of the sport stays.
He says: “To have a ardour is a big privilege – lots of people don’t have this of their life. My ardour for soccer will also be scary due to retirement – what do I do then? And, additionally, once you play for United, it provides you a lot from the world; when that stops, it’s not coming again.
“It does one thing to you as a human and I’m undecided I was reduce out for that. I mirror lots on what I’ve grow to be; is that this actually what I was meant to be? However what if I was one other individual with out soccer? I don’t know who that’s both.
“Everybody taking part in soccer will get swallowed and sooner or later is spat out. Many gamers find yourself being fucked up. I’m undecided they’d have ended up like that if that they had an everyday life.”
Lindegaard, although, is content material to maintain taking part in for the foreseeable future and enthusiastic about life after soccer. He continues to be taught from, and embrace, life.