Goalkeepers are often the first name on the team sheet so for a youngster to break in to a first side is hugely impressive.

Having already assessed the best young defenders, midfielders and attackers from Europe's leading countries including Italy, Spain, England, Germany and France, GMS Academy member Jack Cunningham now explores the top young goalkeepers on the continent.

Spain: David De Gea, 22

The Manchester United stopper was in incredible form last season and just fell short of setting a new Premier League record for clean sheets. His extreme agility and reflexes have forced some phenomenal saves for United and he was in-form against Real Madrid at the Bernabau. He recently won the U-21 European Championships with Spain and has an exceptional future ahead of him.

Germany: Marc Anton Ter Stegen, 21

The young German has been exceptional in the Bundesliga and he has occasionally got the nod over the excellent Manuel Neuer in the national set-up. Despite shaky performances in an International jersey, the youngster will continue to develop and eventually settle himself in the German side. He’s made 90 appearances for Borussia Mönchengladbach which included an unlikely title challenge in the 2011/12 season which was mainly down to Ter Stegen and Marco Reus. 

England: Jack Butland, 20

The young Englishman was hugely coveted before his surprise move to Stoke City. He won the Under-17 European Championships with England in 2010 and has already earned one full national cap. He was Great Britain’s number one at the 2012 Olympic Games and is tipped to become England’s number one, maybe even before Joe Hart hangs up his gloves. Many expect him to be loaned out next season which will only develop his ability and expand his experience.

France: Ali Ahmada, 21

The Tolouse stopper has featured 84 times for the Ligue 1 side and is highly rated in the French national-U21 line up. Keeping numerous clean sheets and commanding the back line, the confident keeper even has a goal to his name, scoring a last-gasp equaliser against Rennes last season. The youngster is cherished at the Stadium Municipal and is regarded as one of the league’s top up and coming talents. 

Italy: Francesco Bardi, 21

The young Italian has huge strides to make if he’ll ever be viewed as Gianluigi Buffon’s natural successor. The Inter Milan starlet is yet to make an appearance for the Nerazzurri but has cemented his hotly contested Italian U-21 place. Many are unsure whether he’ll be a world-class goalkeeper but the talented 6ft 2 Italian definitely could prove to be so in the future. Last season he spent time at Serie B side Novara and amassed 35 appearances making some impressive saves.

Notable mention to the exceptional Thibault Courtois who is unfortunate not to feature on this list because this series of articles look at talent only from Spain, Germany, England, France and Italy.

Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/12evFlH

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms