By 90Min
May 16, 2019

OTD in 2005 - May 15th, to be precise - Stuart Pearce did the unimaginable. The unthinkable. The otherworldly. The insane. The inspired.

With two minutes left of normal time, and his Manchester City side stuck in a 1-1 stalemate against Middlesbrough with a UEFA Cup place on the line, Pearce chose to ignore his confounded £5m striker (back when that wasn't loose change) Jon Macken on the bench, and thrusted goalkeeper David James up front.

Chucking an outfield shirt on top of his greyish purple keeper shorts - a real clash - the England international was charged with throwing his weight around. And that he did, with his highlights including some tidy footwork proceeded by some not-so-tidy footwork and a titanic challenge.


More titanic challenges followed, and James was little help with his feet - except for when lunging at opponents' ankles - but he was there when it mattered, getting amongst it in the mixer when Joey Barton's cross hit the arm of Boro defender Franck Queudru and a penalty was awarded. 

Yes, Robbie Fowler's spot kick was saved by Mark Schwarzer and Boro nabbed the European spot, but that shouldn't gloss over the role James played in giving his side a chance. Which begs the question, what other keepers should be getting a shot up top these days? 


GLYN KIRK/GettyImages

This is a no-brainer. We've all seen the brilliance of Ederson with the ball at his feet, and we've all crooned that he'd probably make the cut in central midfield at most clubs outside the top six. 

Yes, we have only seen him test himself in a passing capacity, but his accuracy in both short and long balls would surely lend itself to a fair few fireworks up top. To be honest, I'm surprised Pep Guardiola hasn't gone for this yet. He'd certainly do a better job than Fabien Delph at left back. 

Manuel Neuer

Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

Once upon a time, Manuel Neuer was the world's preeminent sweeper-keeper. But his exploits between the sticks have come in to question in recent times. Which is exactly why he should be tried up front. 

Yes, he was caught napping with the ball at his feet against South Korea at last summer's World Cup, but you only have to look at his penalty in the 2012 Champions League final shootout to know he's got an eye for the net. And, standing at 6'3 and change, he's definitely got presence. 

Rob Green

If you'd never seen that before, then you're so, so, SO welcome. We're honoured to have shared such a thing of beauty with you. 

That's right, Rob Green has got teck. If only we had known this back in 2010 - we could've saved both himself and Emile Heskey from a lot of grief. Bet he's not all flicks and tricks, though. Probably has a rasping volley in him. 

Alberto Brignoli

Maurizio Lagana/GettyImages

When you saw the name Alberto Brignoli you were probably dumbfounded, but then you saw the picture and the memories came flooding back. The fairytale promotion. The 14-game winless streak - but not just winless, drawless too - that preceded the clash with AC Milan. The being 2-1 down with 95 minutes on the clock.

The whipped free kick. The John West salmon-like leap of Brignoli. The power of the header. The rippling of the net. The joyous celebrations. The first ever point in Benevento's Serie A history. Yeh, I reckon he could do a job. 

Wayne Shaw

Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Yeh, alright, Wayne Shaw isn't Gianluigi Buffon, but we don't need him to be Gianluigi Buffon. We just need him to, in the spirit of David James, well, throw his weight around.

Just in case you don't remember Wayne Shaw, he's the guy who ate a pie during a Sutton United FA Cup clash with Arsenal and then resigned because it turned out some bookies had offered 8/1 odds for him to do so. Yes, he's 47 years old. But he's unquestionably a unit and, though he may restrict you from playing a certain style of play, he could certainly help you in executing another. Food for thought? 

Paul Robinson

Ian Walton/GettyImages

Ok, he's been retired for two years, but are you telling me you still wouldn't want Paul Robinson parading down the flanks or backing into defenders? Pleaaase. In two completely different goals for Leeds and Tottenham, Robbo showed exactly what we're looking for. 

In the first, in a crucial, crucial Cup clash with United, Robinson exhibited both his clutch scoring ability and his aerial prowess, flicking a Didier Drogba Champions League final-esque header into the net. In the second, he showed unbridled power with his feet, knocking an 80-yard free kick over then England rival Ben Foster's head. 

To conclude, he's a fox in the box who can more than cut it from long range. What's not to like?

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)