Ranked! The 10 best goalkeepers in Premier League history
10. Neville Southall
Big Nev’s greatest glory days came before he was a Premier League player (and, if you follow him on Twitter, perhaps afterwards too), but even at the tail end of his peak years he was a brilliant keeper.
His reflexes might not have been as lightning as in the 1980s, but his job was often harder because he was playing in (broadly speaking) bad Everton teams, escaping relegation a couple of times. That said, the Welshman kept five clean sheets en route to the 1995 FA Cup Final, when they beat Manchester United, and in 1994 he was in goal for all but one game in a spell where Everton went 735 minutes without conceding.
9. Joe Hart
It's easy to forget after his assorted mistakes for England and unceremonious binning by Pep Guardiola, but Hart was once a brilliant goalkeeper. When he was on loan at Birmingham, and after breaking into the Manchester City side thereafter, the pulsing confidence that would eventually give way to a slightly destructive alpha personality was a huge strength, giving him the air of certainty that all goalkeepers need.
You only have to look at the compliments paid to him when he left City for Burnley last summer to realise what he did for them. The loan at West Ham didn’t work out, but Hart’s move to Turf Moor seems to be suiting him much more: he might not be back to his best, but he could get close again.
8. David James
Does a player deserve a place on this list for long service? That might sound like a backhanded compliment, but you don’t get to play 572 times in spells with five different clubs (and throw in 53 England caps too) without being an excellent goalkeeper. At times during his long career, James was.
The former Watford man was written off in his early years at Liverpool, with no consideration given to the fact he was 22 and in the middle of a team which was disintegrating around him. Later on he had the misfortune of playing behind poor defences, for West Ham and Manchester City in particular, but still managed to perform well.
7. Brad Friedel
It took Friedel a while to get into English football. Attempts to sign for Nottingham Forest, Sunderland and Newcastle were all scuppered by work permit regulations, but he eventually arrived in 1997, joining Liverpool.
He had trouble establishing himself at Anfield, but after moving to Blackburn in 2000 he gradually became one of the most reliable shot-stoppers in the country. Perhaps it’s because he was in his early 30s by the time he got a foothold in the Premier League, but Friedel always had the air of a wise old man; a sage of goalkeeping with whom any defence would feel comfortable.
Plus, he’s one of five goalkeepers to score a Premier League goal (top points if you can name the other four*), which undoubtedly adds an element of fun.
6. Shay Given
There was once a time when the debate around Given focused on whether he was underrated or overrated. Arguments raged, furious barbs were thrown and families were split asunder (sort of), but now with the passage of time everyone can probably agree that he was pretty good.
The Irishman spent much of his career playing for a Newcastle side that lurched from near-glory to near-crisis, before eventually earning a move to Manchester City just after all the money rolled in. An underrated (sorry) aspect of Given’s career was that, for years at St James’ Park, he competed for his place with Steve Harper – an eerie lookalike but also a custodian who would have been No.1 at plenty of other clubs.