I know, I know.
We’ve all seen the list of the hottest young talent or who has got the highest potential in FIFA, but can you make a list of the best young keepers that aren’t flashes in the pan? In this list I’ll name my best five ‘keepers that perform at a high level on a consistent basis and who can go on to achieve real greatness. Considering goalkeepers can play until their late 30’s, the list will be on goalkeepers who are 24 or younger.
So, let’s begin.
Maksym Koval (22)
Who? Not a household name by any means, this boy has arguably the best record on the list. Having progressed through the youth system he got his first team chance with Ukrainian side Metalurh Zaporizhya at the age of 16. He kept clean sheets in his first three games.
Interested in this prodigy, Ukrainian side Dinamo Kyiv bought him. Between 2010 and early 2014 he made 56 appearances for his new club, notably a magnificent performance in a 3-1 win away to Bundesliga high-flyers Borussia Monchengladbach.
With a new manager who has put faith in two older, more experienced ‘keepers, Koval was put out on loan to bottom-half strugglers Hoverla. So far this season he has conceded 12 goals in 11 games. Doesn’t sound great? In the three league games he hasn’t been between the sticks Hoverla shipped eight.
Marc-André ter Stegen (22)
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. A very recognizable name, ter Stegen has made the monumental leap from Monchengladbach to Barcelona this summer. For a ‘keeper with the world at his feet, things aren’t as rosy as you’d think.
2014 was a year to learn from for him. A mediocre first half of the year saw the hometown hero miss out on a place in Germany’s victorious World Cup squad. Having been capped by Germany previosuly, this must have been gut-wrenching. With no opposition for the number one jersey at club level, complacency could have been the issue for him. Regardless, long term admirers Barcelona came in with an offer for his services and he duly obliged.
The next few years will be critical in the development of ter Stegen. At Barcelona he is now very much a small fish in a big ocean. He will have the opportunity to learn from one of the La Liga’s finest goalkeepers in Claudio Bravo. It will be the competition for a first team place at one of the best clubs in the world will see him develop in to the world-class goalkeeper we know he can be.
Gerónimo Rulli (22)
Rulli can be a bit of a grenade as a ‘keeper. A good grenade, mind. Playing with a saving style that can only be called unorthodox he is the goalkeeper Argentina has been crying out for.
Graduating from the Estudiantes LP academy he made his debut in a 1-0 loss to Arsenal di Sarandi in 2012. What he achieved next was nothing short of phenomenal. During six and a half of the next 11 games he played he set a club record for not conceding a goal. 588 minutes of football for an inexperienced keeper not to pick the ball out of his own net is something to be marveled at.
During the 2013-14 season he appeared in every Argentinian league game firmly establishing himself as the number one. Bought and loaned out by Uruguayan side Deportivo Maldonado he is now at David Moyes’ Real Sociedad. We know he has the talent so with a chance he can follow in the footsteps of David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois in making himself the prmairy shotstopper in the league.
Standing at 6ft5 Kapino is a giant in every sense of the meaning. Starting as the youngest ever Greek international in a friendly aged 17, Stefano also played 12 times for Panathinaikos in his breakout season.
The 2012/13 season saw him only manage one appearance, but with the selling of first choice ‘keeper Orestis Karnezis that summer, Kapino saw plenty first team action afterwards. Playing consistently at a high level aided this players’ development. He was brought along to the 2014 World Cup but was an unused substitute.
A £2 million transfer to Mainz and now Kapino is providing competition to Lorus Karius. Having not started a game yet, the rivalry with Karius will make or break the Greek.
Lorus Karius (21)
At the tender age of 21 Karius has already been at Stuttgart, Manchester City and now Mainz. According to Stuttgart’s youth coordinator Thomas Albeck the 2009 move to City was for “an exorbitant amount of money (that was) well out of proportion” for the 15 year old.
Making no appearances for the Manchester club, Lorus Kairus went back to Germany and has been a main stay in the Bundesliga. Notching up 36 appearances for Mainz, this season he has played 15 games with four clean sheets including a victory over struggling Dortmund.
Representing Germany from u-17 level to u-21 he has yet to get a run out with the senior team but it is only a matter of time.
Simeone Scuffet (18)
The Udinese wunderkid had a remarkable run last year, but due to the fact he only played 16 professional games I didn’t think he played enough to be counted.
Nicola Leali (21)
Much like Scuffet, dubbed “the new Buffon” Leali earned himself a move to Serie A giants Juventus. Three consecutive season-long loans to Serie B sides saw him miss out.
Players such as Thibaut Courtois and David de Gea have not made this list becuase they have turned their potential in to something real and have become world class goalkeepers.
Not everyone will agree with this list so who would you put in? Let me know in the comments below.