By 90Min
February 23, 2019

Being a goalkeeper is challenging, no question about it.

You train in small isolated groups, have holes picked in every performance you put in and more than often than not, pay for any slip-ups by losing your place in the side.

For some keepers though, sitting on the bench and trying to force their way into the first team is often the first order of the day. Some eventually breakthrough and earn that coveted starting berth, but some wind up playing second fiddle for the majority of any given season. There's also those thoughts of how you compare about against your peers?

Well wonder no more, because we here at 90min (like we did earlier in the season with the first choice goalkeepers) are here to break things down for you.


20. Ben Hamer (Huddersfield)

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Unable to dislodge Jonas Lossl in the Huddersfield goal this season, former Leicester goalkeeper Hamer currently plays understudy at the John Smith's Stadium.

He has featured in the league this season but his next batch of opportunities are likely to come following relegation to the Championship.


19. Alex Smithies (Cardiff)

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It's a mystery sometimes why players give up a guaranteed first-team place to join a side where they are likely to play understudy.

Well that's exactly what Alex Smithies did when he left QPR to join newly promoted Cardiff - where he is yet to feature.


18. Maarten Stekelenburg (Everton)

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It's been a rather seismic fall from goalkeeping grace for Stekelenburg, with the former Dutch number one's career free-falling since leaving Ajax for Roma in 2011.


He now finds himself occupying the bench at Everton, playing second fiddle to England number one Jordan Pickford.


17. Karl Darlow (Newcastle)

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There is an abundance of riches in the goalkeeping department at Newcastle, with manager Rafa Benitez having a number of options to choose from.

Darlow is one of them, but he has thus far been able to command a regular place at St James' Park - with Martin Dubravka the preferred option between the sticks.


16. David Button (Brighton)

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Mat Ryan's recent trip to the Asian Cup with Australia afforded Button some Premier League experience, having spent the early part of the season as Brighton's number two.

He performed well enough during his short stint in the side, but now finds himself back among the Seagulls' substitutes.


15. Arijanet Muric (Man City)

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One area of Manchester City's world class team that perhaps needs improving is who plays second fiddle to number one goalkeeper Ederson.

Former Barcelona stopper Claudio Bravo was that man until he suffered a long-term injury, leaving Muric to step up and take his place. He's performed well this season when called upon though, starring in a penalty shootout win over Leicester in the Carabao Cup earlier this season. 


14. Willy Caballero (Chelsea)

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Chelsea's understudy to mega-millions signing Kepa may regard himself as hard done by here, considering his international pedigree with Argentina.

But we all remember his World Cup mistake don't we? Well, we sure do and this is the price he pays for it.


13. Danny Ward (Leicester)

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With opportunities hard to come by at Liverpool, Danny Ward knew he had to move on if he was ever going to establish himself as a number one.


Unfortunately for him, Kasper Schmeichel is at the peak of his powers at Leicester - and won't be dislodged from the first team any time soon, despite Ward's abilities.


12. John Ruddy (Wolves)

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Earning promotion to the Premier League is no doubt one of the greatest feelings that you can accomplish as a professional footballer in England.


Ruddy experienced that pleasure last year with Wolves, but soon found himself usurped by Rui Patricio in Wanderers' goal. Bit harsh, as he's actually pretty handy.


11. Heurelho Gomes (Watford)

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Speaking of handy, that brings us nicely onto Watford's understudy to number one goalkeeper Ben Foster.

Gomes has matured like a fine red wine, getting endlessly better with age. He struggles to find regular game these days but when he's given a chance in the cup competitions, he shows his class more often than not.


10. Adrian (West Ham)

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Regarded at West Ham as somewhat of a cult hero (for his penalty heroics against Everton in the FA Cup if nothing else), Adrian can perhaps count himself unlucky to not be a regular starter.


He does have Lukasz Fabianski for competition though - and he is arguably the best goalkeeper outside of the Premier League's top six. Just saying.


9. Angus Gunn (Southampton)

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It looked like a run of games in Southampton's first team was on the horizon for Gunn when he dislodged Alex McCarthy in goal ahead of the away trip to Chelsea.


He kept a clean sheet, made countless saves and earned his side an unlikely point - before being promptly axed by Ralph Hasenhüttl. Still, he's a class act and very much on Gareth Southgate's radar.


8. Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham)

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On the subject of Southgate's radar, next up is forgotten Fulham goalkeeper Bettinelli - who has slipped behind Sergio Rico in the Cottagers pecking order.

He also has Fabri for company in training, with competition for places pretty strong at Craven Cottage to say the least. Still, he may get another chance given Fulham's current Premier League predicament.


7. Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace)

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Having been Crystal Palace's number one goalkeeper for the majority of the season, things have suddenly changed for Hennessey.

A couple of mistakes, followed by injury and an unfortunate gesture being made in a teammate's photo, mean we've barely seen the Welshman of late. He may be back, but not if Vicente Guaita has anything to do with it.


6. Paulo Gazzaniga (Tottenham)

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There were many question marks raised when Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino opted to bring Gazzaniga to north London from former club Southampton.

Slowly but surely though, the Argentine is showing himself to be a more than capable deputy for Hugo Lloris - relegating Michel Vorm to third choice.


5. Simon Mignolet (Liverpool)

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Liverpool went through somewhat of a goalkeeping nightmare last season, with Mignolet and former teammate Loris Karius both making a number of high profile gaffes.


Alisson has steadied that ship since arriving from Roma, with Mignolet now firmly rooted to the bench. He's still a good stopper though, and has proven time and again that he has rather tasty shot stopping ability.


4. Asmir Begovic (Bournemouth)

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Another keeper who has been dislodged from his starting berth this season is Bournemouth's now-second choice stopper Begovic.

Having been the Cherries number one for 18 months, he's suddenly behind Artur Boruc in the pecking order - and a reported falling out with Eddie Howe won't have improved matters.


3. Petr Cech (Arsenal)

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He's winding down towards the end of his career, but there is no doubting that Cech is still a class act.

He'll forever be remembered as a Premier League legend, and currently holds the clean sheet record - although he watches on these days as Arsenal look to the future with Bernd Leno.


2. Nick Pope (Burnley)

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Remember this guy? Well you should, as Pope went to the World Cup with England in the summer after enjoying an incredible debut season in the top flight.

An injury cruelly robbed him of his place in Burnley's team, and with Tom Heaton and Joe Hart for company, he's yet to get back in. He will though, either with the Clarets or somewhere else.


1. Sergio Romero (Man Utd)

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Top of the tree is Manchester United's greatest ever goalkeeper. Well, statistically at the very least - and no, we're not joking.

Romero has kept 27 clean sheets in his 42 United games (in all competitions), which equates to a remarkable 64.2%. Not bad for a goalkeeper who barely gets a sniff because his teammate is the best in the league. It's a hard life.


Honourable Mentions


It's worth noting that the Premier League boasts a number of classy third choice goalkeepers as well.

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Fraser Forster, Joe Hart, Michel Vorm, Fabri, Claudio Bravo and Rob Elliot are just a few names that spring to mind - and that's before we delve down the rabbit hole of up and coming youngsters. Lovely jubbly.

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