Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 September 2019

Where does David de Gea rank in the Premier League's best ever goalkeepers?

The Manchester United number one has caused a stir with more brilliance - this time against Tottenham Hotspur

It's rare that the football community is talking non-stop about a goalkeeper, unless there was a must-see clanger that proved costly to one of the big clubs chasing the league title or cup glory.

So it is telling that David de Gea is the name on everyone's lips - and screens - after his heroics for Manchester United in their 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley.

We've come to expect it from De Gea, who made 11 second half saves in that match and has rescued United time and time again during the past four or five years.

But now, aged 28 and with more than 250 league appearances for United, we can safely place him in the rankings of the best goalkeepers during the Premier League era.

So, here's our top 10...

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10. Ben Foster

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Ben Foster of Watford reacts during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Watford FC at Selhurst Park on January 12, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
Ben Foster is going from strength to strength with Watford. Getty Images

Not all of the best keepers come from the top clubs, although Foster did have a five-year spell at Manchester United in which he made just 12 Premier League appearances. Now 35, he's won rave reviews this season with Watford and has played more than 300 top flight games.

A personal anecdote here - I've never seen a goalkeeper put his foot through the ball with the force that Foster did in a match while on loan at Watford in 2005. An extraordinary kicker.

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9. Brad Friedel

GOALKEEPER: Tottenham Hotspur's Brad Friedel makes into the team for the second week in a row. The veteran shotstopper was at his best in his team's defeat of Manchester United. Shaun Botterill / Getty Images
Brad Friedel during his spell at Tottenham Hotspur. Getty Images

There's few better examples of goalkeepers improving with age than Freidel, who was arguably at his best the further he went into his 30s.

Having been rather lost at Liverpool, he became a legend at Blackburn and even scored from open play in a game against Charlton Athletic in 2004. He was still playing for Tottenham aged 42.

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8. Thibaut Courtois

Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois celebrates his side's win over Manchester United in the FA Cup final on Saturday. Rui Vieira / AP Photo
Thibaut Courtois celebrates his side's win over Manchester United in the FA Cup final in 2018. AP Photo

Four seasons may feel short for a keeper to be regarded one of the best ever, but Courtois won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and a League Cup at Chelsea before departing for Real Madrid last summer.

He had less memorable moments than a match-winner such as De Gea, but was playing in a successful side where the onus was on concentration and being reliable when called upon. His height and arm length made him a formidable opponent.

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7. Jens Lehmann

Arsenal's German goalkeeper Jens Lehman dives after the ball during a practice session at the club's training compound in north London, 18 April 2006 ahead of their first leg semi-final match against Spanish side Villarreal 19 April. AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN / AFP)
Arsenal's German goalkeeper Jens Lehman dives after the ball during a practice session at the club's training compound in north London, 18 April 2006 ahead of their first leg semi-final match against Spanish side Villarreal 19 April. AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN / AFP)

A spiky character, the German was the last line of defence in Arsenal's Invincibles side. He almost messed it all up, however, with Arsenal needing a point to claim the title that season (2003-04) when they visited North London rivals Tottenham.

Lehmann man-handled Robbie Keane ahead of a corner to give away a penalty, but Arsenal held on for a draw. He was sent off in the 19th minute of the Champions League final defeat to Barcelona in 2006, but these incidents shouldn't overshadow his ability.

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6. Shay Given

Aston Villa's Irish goalkeeper Shay Given reacts after winning the FA Cup semi-final between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Wembley stadium in London on April 19, 2015. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by GLYN KIRK / AFP)
Shay Given during his four seasons at Aston villa. AFP

Too short to make it among the cream of the Premier League goalkeepers? Clearly not. Given wasn't the tallest but made up for it with expert positioning and technique.

He claimed 113 clean sheets in 451 Premier League games and is best remembered for his spell at Newcastle United where he was often required to bail out a leaky defence. No club honours won, except for the Intertoto Cup in 2006 and a second tier title won while on loan at Sunderland way back in 1996.

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5. Edwin van der Sar

Manchester United's Edwin van der Sar pictured during the friendly football match between Manchester United's Legends and Barcelona's Legends at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on September 2, 2017. - The charity friendly football match reuniting former Manchester United stars with legends from Barcelona was arranged by the Manchester United Foundation, to commemorate the recent terror attacks in both cities. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)
Manchester United's Edwin van der Sar pictured during the friendly football match between Manchester United's Legends and Barcelona's Legends in 2017. AFP

The Dutchman appeared to be quietly seeing out his career with Fulham having left Juventus when they signed Gigi Buffon. Then Manchester United signed him in 2005 as he approached his 35th birthday and six years later he had four league titles and a Champions League in the bag. A calm presence at the back after years of chaos between the sticks as United tried, and failed on many occasions, to find a replacement for Peter Schmeichel.

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4. Petr Cech

Arsenal's Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech gestures during their UEFA Europa league group stage football match at the Emirates stadium in London on November 8, 2018. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)
Petr Cech has more than 200 Premier League clean sheets. AFP

He's not done just yet, but the giant Czech's top flight career is certainly petering out. Synonymous with success, he has won four Premier League titles with Chelsea, four FA Cups, a Champions League and a Europa League. A more traditional keeper who made his mark with his hands unlike many of today's stand out performers who have to essentially play as a sweeper-keeper.

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3. David Seaman

Former English international goalkeeper David Seaman warms up before the Soccer Aid celebrity football match between England and the Rest of the World at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester on June 5, 2016. (Photo by OLI SCARFF / AFP)
David Seaman kept 140 Premier League clean sheets. AFP

There was no more iconic keeper in the 1990s than "Safe Hands" himself, first with the moustache and then the ponytail. He saved much of his drama for England matches - namely his penalty heroics in Euro 96 and then being beaten by Ronaldinho's lob/cross at the 2002 World Cup.

Is it harsh to mention being beaten by Nayim from near the half-way line in the 1995 Cup Winners Cup Final between Arsenal and Real Zaragoza? In the Premier League he was a huge part of Arsenal's winning machine and was devoid of weaknesses (except for high, unexpected shots from long distance).

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2. Peter Schmeichel

VEDBAEK, DENMARK: Goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel of Denmark resting during af training session in Vedbaek, Denmark. (Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images)
VEDBAEK, DENMARK: Goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel of Denmark resting during af training session in Vedbaek, Denmark. (Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images)

Had this list been written five or more years ago, Schmeichel would be the clear leader. He wasn't always pretty - especially when bawling at the likes of the Neville brothers in Manchester United's defence, or with his star jump save technique used to thwart on-rushing strikers which has since been copied by numerous keepers.

But he was imposing and scary, rather like a comic superhero character and clearly did everything in his power to avoid conceding. Also liked to throw the ball more than half the length of the pitch and come up for corners on the rare occasions United were losing. His son Kasper hasn't done too badly either.

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1. David de Gea

epa07280634 Manchester United's David De Gea during the English Premier League Soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium in London, Britain 13, January 2019. EPA/NEIL HALL EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications
David De Gea's reputation continues to grow. EPA

The Spaniard has undoubtedly taken the art of goalkeeping to a new level in the past few years. There's nothing overly flash about him, in fact he could be described as unorthodox because of the high percentage of saves he makes with his feet, but so often he just makes saves which no-one expects him to make.

His showreel grows by the season, with this campaign's featuring THAT save from Cristiano Ronaldo in the Champions League. Last year there was the double stop against Arsenal which sent the internet into a spin, while a favourite of many is the Superman dive against Everton in the 2014/15 season.

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Read more:

David de Gea's heroics against Spurs showed why he is the best, but no Manchester United goalkeeper should be so overworked

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer proves tactical prowess as fearless Manchester United deal hammer blow to Tottenham's title hopes

Premier League team of the week: Unbeatable David de Gea and mercurial Mohamed Salah

Updated: January 14, 2019 06:35 PM

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