It used to be the case that a goalkeeper could reach the highest level provided he was a good shot-stopper.
But the role of the ‘keeper has changed dramatically over the past 10-15 years.
Managers now look for goalkeepers who are quick – you don’t see many slow ‘keepers at the top level these days – and with good technical ability.
Several current Premier League goalkeepers could probably do a decent job as an outfield player.
Take Manchester City’s Ederson, for example. His passing ability is exceptional for a ‘keeper. Pep Guardiola even reckons the Brazilian is his team’s best penalty taker.
Incidentally, it was Ederson who has replaced Joe Hart as City’s long-term first-choice goalkeeper following the failed Claudio Bravo experiment.
Guardiola immediately knew that Hart wasn’t his type of goalkeeper and made the bold decision to axe the City hero without even giving him a chance.
Hart’s career has, sadly, gone into freefall since then – but he will always be remembered fondly by Man City supporters.
Although Hart’s ability with the ball at his feet left a lot to be desired – certainly in Guardiola’s eyes – the former England No. 1 was no slouch.
Don’t believe us? Then watch this clip from 2008 where he showed off his unbelievable pace against Manchester United.
Trailing 1-0 to Sir Alex Ferguson’s side with seconds remaining, Hart went up for a set-piece which ultimately led to nothing.
He stayed upfield just in case the ball broke to him, only to see it fall to Ryan Giggs instead.
Hart was on the edge of the United box by this point and a second goal for the visitors seemed inevitable as the red shirts bombed forward.
Giggs wasn’t quite as rapid by this point, so he laid the ball off to Wayne Rooney, who scored quite a few goals from distance during his illustrious career.
Rooney, positioned out on the left-wing, cut inside on his right and unleashed an accurate shot from 50 yards.
Hart, meanwhile, was sprinting back to his goal as quickly as possible.
Somehow – and we’re still not quite sure how to this day – he recovered and pulled off one of the most astonishing and underrated saves in Premier League history.
Watch it here…
City may have been losing at the time but Hart still had a big smile on his face after that save – and who can blame him?
However, an earlier goal for Rooney earned 10-man United (Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off for an inexplicable handball) all three points on the day.
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