Manchester United rookie Ben Amos steps out of the shadows to put Hull City in safe hands
BEN Amos had no hesitation in stepping out of his Old Trafford comfort zone to begin a season-long adventure in the Championship with Hull City.
Three weeks after agreeing terms on a loan switch from Manchester United, the 22-year-old keeper made his first appearance in Tigers' colours at Rochdale yesterday.
The friendly fixture at Spotland begins a journey Amos hopes will end with City winning promotion to the Premier League in eight months time.
And, just as importantly for the highly-rated stopper, he hopes it is one that can catapult him into the first-team reckoning with Sir Alex Ferguson's men.
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It was a good start for Amos, who looked composed and tidy as he kept a clean sheet in City's 1-0 win.
Steve Bruce has recruited an unashamedly ambitious youngster to vie with Eldin Jakupovic for City's number one shirt this season.
While Amos' immediate focus will be on helping the Tigers build a platform for promotion in 2013, the long-term goals are aimed at the summit of English football.
A new three-year contract was signed with United in May and Amos hopes his switch to East Yorkshire will benefit all parties.
"I knew in my head that I needed to play games this season and Hull is a great opportunity," he said.
"It was Eric Steele, the goalkeeping coach at United, who made me aware that Hull were interested in me.
"He and my agent put it forward to me and straight away I was enthusiastic to make sure it happened.
"I've stayed patient at United for a couple of years now but the chances haven't really come around so far. Hopefully, a big season here can change that."
Amos joins a long line of youngsters who have swapped Old Trafford for the KC Stadium in the last five years.
Strikers Fraizer Campbell and Manucho enjoyed contrasting spells away from United, before the cross-Pennine links were strengthened with loan moves for Cameron Stewart, Corry Evans, Robbie Brady and Josh King over the last two years.
Unlike the most recent quartet, Amos arrives with far greater claims on a long-term future with the Premier League giants.
As well as a contract that will tie him to Old Trafford until 2015, he has already made seven senior appearances under Ferguson.
The presence of David de Gea and Anders Lindegard, signed for a combined total of £20m, has stifled his progression, but Amos remains a key cog in United's long-term planning.
"With me signing my deal in the summer it was a case of me going out on loan to play some games, then going back and push for number one at United," he explained.
"They made it clear to me that they still believe I can be number one at United.
"I feel as though I could do it now. I've got that belief in myself to do a job if I got called upon.
"While they're still saying those things to me and I still believe I can do it, then I was always going to sign the new deal."
City, of course, have been here before. Twelve months ago to be exact.
Goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi was signed from Liverpool with a similar reputation last summer only to spend much of the season wracked by self-doubt.
By the time he was recalled to Anfield for their League Cup final against Cardiff in March, the Tigers were privately relieved to be rid of the error-prone Hungarian.
Amos appears to be a different proposition.
There is a striking natural confidence that sets him apart from Gulacsi and Bruce has no fear he has recruited wisely from his own former boss.
Amos said: "Steve and Sir Alex have obviously got a good relationship and I'm sure he's probably picked up a few things from Sir Alex to go alongside his own ways.
"You see him in training and he's really assertive, that's certainly the impression I get.
"I'm really excited to be here and hopefully I can give him everything he wants in his goalkeeper."
While his new City team-mates were beginning their pre-season in the humble surroundings of North Ferriby, Winterton and Grimsby, Amos was part of Manchester United's week-long tour of South Africa.
Following stints at Peterborough, Norwegian club Molde and Oldham, this is Amos' fourth loan spell away from United.
The chance to play regular football in the Championship is not something the one-time England under-21s keeper is willing to pass by.
"The vibe I get from the camp is that there's an ambition to get back into the Premier League so that's got to be the aim for myself and all the lads," he said. "I'm here to help Hull get promoted and to play as many games as I possibly can.
"I'm not sure it's completely realistic with all the cup games and league games in the Championship, but I'll pick a number and set a target."