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SIR Alex Ferguson has confirmed Edwin van der Sar will not replace Tony Coton as Manchester United's goalkeeping coach.

After two recent knee operations, Coton has been forced to end his 10-year association with the Old Trafford outfit.

Although Coton is to remain on the United payroll until June, the 46-year-old is no longer able to carry out his duties, so academy coach Richard Hartis will step into the breach for the remainder of the campaign.

When reports of Coton's fitness problems began to emerge last month, it was suggested Van der Sar might be asked to combine a playing role with some coaching.

However, the 37-year-old, who recently signed a contract extension that will keep him with the Red Devils until 2009, wants to focus solely on his present career, a stance Ferguson wholeheartedly supports.

"Edwin will not be the man," said the United manager.

"He wants to continue as a player, which is a sensible attitude.

"If he starts thinking now about what he is going to do when he is finished it will put a wedge between his goalkeeping performances and his mental approach to it all.

"That is the way we looked at it."

Van der Sar has been consulted over the situation and is presumably happy for Hartis to maintain his current work with United's goalkeeping team which also includes Tomasz Kuszczak, Tom Heaton and, when fit, Ben Foster.

Ferguson has no immediate thoughts on Coton's successor although having established himself as one of the foremost goalkeeping coaches in the game, the former Watford and Manchester City player will not be an easy man to replace.

"It is sad because Tony has been my coach for 10 years now and we are going to miss him," said Ferguson.

"He has a fantastic personality, the type of personality you would want any young goalkeeper to have."

Coton has accepted a parting of the ways is inevitable and the surgery he has undergone has been successful in terms of his day-to-day life.

"It is unfortunate but I have had 10 fantastic years at Manchester United," he said.

"The memories and experiences during that time are things people dream about.

"I wish everyone at Manchester United, but especially the first-team staff, every success for the rest of the season."
 

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GeordieMancunian said:
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Ferguson has no immediate thoughts on Coton's successor although having established himself as one of the foremost goalkeeping coaches in the game, the former Watford and Manchester City player will not be an easy man to replace.
Very true - he is well respected in football and it is a shame that he is being forced into retirement due to the problems with his knee.

Thanks for everything Tony
 

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I remember watching a Manchester derby, I think it was probably the 93/94 season and he was understudy to Andy Dibble a few times but he was a great keeper for them, when he first came to United under a coaching role, I wasn't sure about it and I wasn't sure if the City fans were ok with it.

But a great servant to this club and it was quite a shock when I heard it in the manager's press conference on MUTV today. I can't believe he's been at the club for 10 years.

Can anyone suggest a replacement for Coton, any former goalkeepers? Seaman? Schmeichel? Vince Bartram?
 

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Thanks Tony for all your loyal service..
I was going to presume Edwin take the role but after reading the article I think its very sensible he doesnt for now anyway.
All these knee injuries are the end of so many players careers. Its a shame really.
 

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Shame when he signed for us he never played, just the few reserve outings. He was a great keeper in his day, all went downhill when he lost his tache though :)
 
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