You don’t achieve what Manchester United have achieved since 1992 without a few excellent shot-stoppers between the sticks.
The inauguration of the Premier League coincided with the revolutionary abolition of the back pass law, which put greater strain on goalkeepers and saw those who boasted glovemen incapable of adjusting to modern demands struggle mightily.
Fortunately for United, they possessed, in many people’s eyes, the best keeper of the 90s and very few will be surprised to see him top our ranking of the club’s Premier League shot-stoppers. However, who else makes the top ten?
The journeyman goalkeeper’s career would span Denmark, Crete, and Greece, but Carroll’s best remembered for his four-year spell at United between 2001 and 2005.
The Northern Irishman, who earned a move off the back of an impressive four years with Wigan, was never a regular at Old Trafford, but he certainly had the chance to establish himself as the club’s number one. Notable gaffs, including “the goal that never was” against Spurs, meant he never convinced supporters.
Kuszczak or ‘Zuszczak’, as the back of his shirt once denoted, never came close to emerging as United’s number one and was the third choice for a period while Ben Foster and Edwin van der Sar were at the club.
The Pole appeared sporadically during his six years at Old Trafford, playing just 26 games. Penalty giveaways and hesitance to leave his line were distinct flaws in Kuszczak’s game.
Romero operated as David de Gea’s number two for six years, with the Argentine earning just seven Premier League appearances.
The overwhelming majority of Romero’s minutes arrived in cup competitions, particularly in the Europa League. He featured throughout United’s successful 2016/17 continental campaign and rarely put a foot wrong when called upon.
After impressing in the top flight with Watford, Foster returned to United, who signed him in 2005, and served as Van der Sar’s backup for a couple of seasons.
Like Romero, Foster was one of the best number-twos in the division, but he rarely started Premier League affairs. His best work at the club came during United’s 2009 League Cup run which culminated in a penalty shootout victory over Tottenham in the final.
United signed Howard from MLS with the view of the American becoming the club’s number one amid Fabien Barthez’s demise.
He started strongly, but his parry which led to Jose Mourinho’s iconic Old Trafford celebration in 2004 knocked his confidence for six and he seemingly never recovered. The American battled Carroll for the starting job, but never cemented himself as a regular beyond his first season.
Nevertheless, Howard enjoyed a fine Premier League career with Everton, who he initially joined on loan in 2006.
Peter Schmeichel’s brilliance and significance meant Van der Gouw never got a whiff of becoming United’s number one, but he was a stellar number two.
The experienced shot-stopper spent six years in Manchester, earning more frequent starts once Schmeichel left in 1999.
The Dutchman often performed well in Europe and he played enough games during the 1999/00 season to earn a Premier League winner’s medal. Overall, Van der Gouw is seen as the best number two United have boasted in the Premier League era.
The diminutive Frenchman was certainly ahead of his time. A stylish and eccentric but erratic goalkeeper, Barthez had a knack for throwing a few (not literally) into his own net.
His four-year spell was chaotic and controversial, but there were some spectacular moments and he left England, returning to Marseille in 2004, with two Premier League winners’ medals. His first season at the club (2000/01) was superb.
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Van der Sar is regarded by many as the first elite modern-day goalkeeper. Louis van Gaal utilised the Dutch shot-stopper as an effective sweeper during Van der Sar’s youth at Ajax as the Eredivisie giants won the UEFA Champions League in 1995.
However, he was forced to rebuild his career in England following a difficult two years with Juventus.
Following an impressive spell with Fulham, United came calling in 2005 and he was the club’s reliable number one for six years. He broke all sorts of Premier League records during his time at Old Trafford, where he won four league titles and another Champions League.
The Dutchman was as reliable as they come.
Many will have Van der Sar above De Gea in this ranking, but the Spaniard’s scintillating peak means, for us, he just about edges out the Dutchman.
The Spaniard perhaps doesn’t boast Van der Sar’s accolades, nor was he so reliable over a sustained period, but there was a point when De Gea was arguably the best keeper in the world.
His decade-long stint as United’s number one has drawn to a close after he collected his second Premier League Golden Glove. De Gea was also named in five PFA Team of the Years and named United’s Players’ Player of the Year on four occasions.
Many will focus upon his shaky start and error-ridden epilogue, but De Gea was outstanding in Manchester for the most part.
Roy Keane might not be his biggest fan, but there’s no real doubt here, is there?
A truly great goalkeeper, Schmeichel is regarded by many as the very best we’ve seen in the Premier League. The Dane played a pivotal role in United’s dominance throughout the 90s as the Red Devils lifted five Premier League titles.
He joined the club as a relative unknown, but it didn’t take long for Schmeichel to establish himself as a bona fide star. Sir Alex Ferguson, who signed Schmeichel from Brondby in 1991 for £505,000, later described his goalkeeper as the “bargain of the century”.
The Dane would bow out following the club’s victory in the 1999 Champions League final which secured a historic treble.