FourFourTwo's 100 best foreign Premier League players ever: No.9, Peter Schmeichel
Despite the fact that Peter wasn’t afraid to give you a dressing down as a defender, he was absolutely fantastic to play in front of. He was a great organiser but he was also a great motivator, someone who made sure that everyone was on their toes at all times.
Basically he was a big figure in every sense; a great character, someone who showed his emotions in the right way, but also someone who had an enormous physical presence – he filled the goal.
Nobody could go to sleep with Peter in goal, everyone had to work as hard as they possibly could and he made sure that everyone knew what their jobs were if it looked as though they were forgetting. If you weren’t in the right position or weren’t doing something you were supposed to, then Peter would be onto it in a flash.
He had so much desire, passion and commitment not to concede chances or goals. He was like it in training too and carried that onto the pitch – there was no difference for him. It’s hugely important to have Peter’s mentality in a side – a lot of players have skills and quality, but they lack this winning mentality. He had the lot.
Technically he was absolutely outstanding. He had good reach, he was comfortable with the ball at his feet and he could read situations well too. For me, though, it was his mentality and that physical presence which made him one of the best goalkeepers in the history of the Premier League. The fact that people still talk about him now really tells you everything you need to know.
Chaos and control
Off the pitch he was quiet and calm. On it? Well, winning was everything
Off the pitch he was one of the boys, someone you could have a laugh with – a really great guy. He was relaxed, normal and would join in with the rest of the players. Some goalkeepers keep themselves to themselves all the time but he enjoyed being sociable and just loved being at Old Trafford.
He was never short of opinions but I think that’s good – you need that in a dressing room. People often say that goalkeepers have a crazy gene but I think Peter was missing it. I don’t think you can be crazy with the amount of control that he had. Off the pitch he was quiet and calm. On it? Well, winning was everything.
There are so many moments that you think of when Peter was at Old Trafford. The club was so successful during his time there, but what made him one of the best was his ability to make match-winning saves. When it really counted, he could step up and pull off unbelievable things.
At times he was more like a handball keeper than a goalkeeper – he’d come out and make himself big, stretch to stop shots at close range and then be secure when shots came in from distance.