Joe Hart - the life of a goalkeeper

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#1 Edited by _Judas_ (785 posts) -

Some seasons ago, Manchester City started the season with two great, young keepers. One of them was a keeper that I often purchased myself in an old FM-game, Kasper Schmeichel; son of legendary goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel. Kasper had a tough time in Manchester City and soon faded out of the Premier League while Joe Hart stood his ground at (then) City of Manchester Stadium.

Joe Hart was praised by English media and considered a very hot prospect and key player for the future of England. In last weekends football match against Norwich, Joe Hart was "finally" benched which lead the way for same-aged Casil Pantilimon(?), and this got a lot of media-attention. It made me wonder about the life of a goalkeeper, being a former goalkeeper myself.

Joe Hart is a fantastic goalkeeper, I have to admit, but I always thought City made the wrong move when going for Hart instead of Schmeichel. This is not because I am a City fan, which I am not, but more because I felt that the Schmeichel-name had more history, pride and honor to it.

Goalkeepers are a very important part of the game, they are the last defence on the football field: they need to be solid, atleast at this level (Barclays Premier League). Manchester United had troubles finding a solid replacement for Schmeichel when he left the club and was forced to use multiple underachievers until Van Der Sar was bought. AC Milan has managed to play well in spite of Christian Abbiatti as their number 1. Even De Gead has many times been questioned "if he is the right keeper for United". Lately he has shaped up to the English game and has become one of the top keepers of the league. I digress...sorry.

Joe Hart: he is still a brilliant keeper, but after some rough patches was benched for the Norwich-game. Is this the end for young Hart as England's nr. 1? Do you think he will leave Etihad Stadium, or do you think this is all too dramatic?

Please comment and share your own stories involving young, talented goalkeepers!

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#2 Posted by Gazkapop (25 posts) -

He blows far too hot and cold IMO to be considered up there with the best in the world. Had he been from another country, I doubt the same hype would've surrounded him when he was younger and he wouldn't be held in such high regard (and conversely such little regard) by as many people.

He's not a bad keeper by any means but I can't say I've personally seen much improvement from him over the last two or three years since he continually makes the same type of mistakes over and over again. On the other hand, with De Gea I think there's been a noticeable improvement in his performances after a shaky start.

I actually agree with you in that Schmeichel maybe wasn't given a fair crack at the whip. Though, given everything that's happened at City over the last few years it likely would've been incredibly hard for him to make his mark anyway.

As for other young keepers, I'm really surprised and a little saddened by how Sergio Asenjo's career has panned out so far. He made the move to Atletico and was seemingly all set to become Spain's number one after Casillas, Valdes and the like had come towards the end of their international careers. But a few mistakes and some injuries ruined him and as it happens De Gea took his spot and was fantastic in his place. Now he's at one at the biggest clubs in the world while Asenjo is only playing for Villarreal.

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#3 Edited by _Judas_ (785 posts) -

Your arguements are valid: I guess Hart has had difficulties "upgrading" himself, but this is something I see in a lot of young players. Could it be that they peak too early and never manage to grow beyond this "peak"?

Being a former goalkeeper I tend to keep my eye on the young prospects, and Sergio Asenio is one of them. I also kept an eye on Brad Guzan, Guillermo Ochoa, Kasper Schmeichel, Igor Akinfeev, and lately, Marc Ter-Stegen.

Hopefully, Kasper will take the step up later in life :) I have my hopes on him.

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#4 Posted by Gazkapop (25 posts) -

@_Judas_: As I'm sure you know, goalkeepers tend to peak later on in their careers when compared to outfield players so there's still no reason why Hart can't get his game together and kick on to be up there with the top few guys. When you burst onto the scene as a youngster, maintaining a consistent level is undoubtedly one of the hardest challenges to face. Temperament probably just a big part as anything else when you already have the natural born ability.

I'm a big fan of Akinfeev and Ter-Stegen as well. Akinfeev in particular could've easily played at a top club in one of the top few leagues for years now had he chosen not to stay with CSKA. Thibault Courtois is another example, I've seen some people already call him one of the top few goalkeepers in Europe.

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#5 Posted by garfield360uk (20381 posts) -

I honestly think this blow out is due to his nationality. He has made mistakes but any keeper does. He needs a break but also the press need to stop jumping on him every time he does make one. He is a top level keeper and I hope he can bounce back and win back the number 1 shirt at City (saying that, it is also good they are giving the second choice keeper a run out and let him show what he can do, as is my understanding he is doing pretty good as well, so more competition will only improve both players).

In terms of Schmeichel, the name should mean nothing. He should prove himself as his father had to do. If he is a top keeper then hopefully he will get his chance to shine, but his name should not be what brings his chances but hard work and ability.

I still think the top keepers in the world are: Casillas, Buffon, Cech, and Neuer. Hart perhaps comes into the second camp here of a player who needs to be consistently winning trophies and saving penalties when it matters etc to join that elite group. Obviously I am likely missing people here as I only see European football and do not get to see much of other leagues where there are potentially gems who are not seen by European football.

When this group retires or get dropped long term (more in terms of Casillas and Buffon I think this would apply given their age or current team status, over, say Cech and Neuer who are both at top level teams and also have age on their side to keep improving), that's when the next generation of goal keepers will come through. Sadly were are in a age of "worlds best player, oh wait, a mistake, bad bad player" where the press (the English press more so, I do not know about other countries sports papers) where a player can be claimed to be the next "Ballack" and then get trashed in the next weeks edition of the newspaper. Same with some fan groups, where a player has to be the top right now or be dumped. Footballl in this country has lost its patience when managers are sacked with only a handful of games on their record and players dropped or trashed for making minor errors.