Kerr backs Nielsen as No1
Rookie goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen has been given a timely boost as he prepares to help Manchester City secure a top-four place.
Nielsen will earn promotion next season and become the Faroe Islands number one when they begin their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers. He will replace long-serving Jakup Mikkelsen, who has now turned 39, with Northern Ireland one of their opponents in the group.
The promise has been made by manager Brian Kerr, the former Republic of Ireland boss. "He made his debut for the Faroes against Iceland before I took over and I was very impressed by his performance," Kerr told the BBC. "He will be my top-choice keeper for the Euro 2012 qualifiers.
"It is a very important development for Faroese football and it is a huge boost for young Faroese players to have a player like that to look up to. He has made plenty of sacrifices to go and try and make it in England but what he needs more than anything else for his development is regular games to help with his decision making."
Kerr believes Nielsen can rise to the challenge at City even if the club are given permission by the Premier League to draft in another goalkeeper on loan with Sunderland's Marton Fulop a possibility. The 23-year-old played the last 17 minutes of the 0-0 draw with Arsenal after Shay Given dislocated his shoulder.
He was drafted in as Joe Hart is on loan at Birmingham and will remain there, according to their manager Alex McLeish. Stuart Taylor is still not fit after a knee operation and David Gonzalez is suffering from a groin injury.
That leaves Nielsen in line to face Aston Villa on Saturday and Kerr said: "I believe he will grasp the chance if he is given it. He has prepared a long time for this and I'm confident that he would handle the situation well. It is a big opportunity for him.
"He is big, confident and competent and because of his physical attributes he has a bit of a presence about him. If he gets to play, his mental attitude and strength will be a real attribute that will come across on the field."