Being a Premier League goalkeeper is incredibly difficult and it can be a lonely position on a football field when things are not going well. Goalkeepers don’t tend to get the credit they deserve when they are doing well, but will always be pointed at when they make mistakes.
New Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea is an example of somebody going through a rough patch at the moment, in his first few games for his new club. The 20 year-old Spaniard has only played 60 competitive matches in his short career and is still raw and will need nurturing, but at the moment not many are convinced by him and willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and some are questioning United’s decision to splash out £18 million on the youngster.
No goalkeeper is the finished article at the age of 20, goalkeepers usually start to become really good between the ages of 26 and 32. I believe the Premier League is currently short on top class goalkeepers. When Edwin Van Der Sar retired at the end of last season, the league lost another great goalkeeper and they are in short supply at the moment.
Several Premier League clubs bought new goalkeepers to go straight into their first teams this summer. Tottenham were not too happy with the performances of Brazilian Gomes last season, so they decided to sign veteran Brad Friedel. Aston Villa therefore, had to replace Friedel by signing Shay Given from Manchester City. West Brom replaced Scott Carson with Ben Foster and Swansea signed Dutchman Michael Vorm.
So who exactly, are the top three goalkeepers in the Premier League at the moment? In my opinion here are the top three:
Given has been one of the most consistent performers in the league for over ten years. He has always been slightly underrated and has never managed to get that move to one of the big boys in the league that he deserved. His move to Manchester City was supposed to finally give him the opportunity to compete for honours and play in the Champions League but things didn’t work out for him there. He spent the whole of last season on the bench at City behind Joe Hart, and for a goalkeeper of Given’s quality that was hard to take. He has now moved to Aston Villa and I am sure he will once again establish himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League.
Over the last three years there haven’t been many goalkeepers in Europe performing better than Joe Hart, let alone the Premier League. He managed to take the number one spot in the Manchester City team away from Shay Given, which wasn’t an easy thing to do. He was fantastic last season for City as they lifted the FA Cup and qualified for the Champions League. On top of all that, Hart has also established himself as the undisputed number one for England. Hart will finally test himself at the top level this season in the Champions League and i’m sure there won’t be many goalkeepers better than the England man.
In my opinion, Reina has consistently been the best goalkeeper in the Premier League for a number of years now. He had a difficult first few seasons at Anfield several years ago, where he was prone to a mistake every few games, much like his compatriot De Gea at Manchester United now.
But he finally grew to become a truly world class goalkeeper for Liverpool and has managed to break all kinds of clean sheet records in the league along the way. Reina is without a doubt among the five best goalkeepers in Europe at the moment and he would probably be the number one for Spain too, if Iker Casillas was not around. Even when Liverpool haven’t been playing well in the last few years, Reina has still managed to keep his reputation intact, usually being Liverpool’s stand out performer.
Steven Gerrard has always referred to Reina as ‘the best goalkeeper in the world’, and I’m pretty sure there are many people who would echo that opinion.