Top 10 England Goalkeepers

Joe Hart has been receiving some criticism of late for some up-and-down performances but he has been vigorously defended by his team mates suggesting he is one of the best in the business. This got us thinking where he ranks amongst England’s best ever goalkeepers and who truly was the best to ever don the gloves for the Three Lions. Only 108 men have ever played in net for England and here is our top 10.

10. Frank Swift

Arguably more famous now for losing his life in the Munich air disaster whilst working as a journalist for the News of the World, but Swift enjoyed an excellent playing career until his retirement in 1949. The Manchester City ‘keeper played for the England wartime team before going on to play 19 games for the full side between 1946 and ’49 during which he conceded just 18 goals in the process.

9. Joe Hart

He may be the one taking criticism at the moment but he deserves his place on this list having already picked up 33 caps for his country at what remains a tender age for a goalkeeper. He may yet to have competed at the business end of a big tournament with England but conceding just 27 goals in 33 games puts him up there with the best.

8. Nigel Martyn

He may have been in the shadow of David Seaman for much of his career but Martyn enjoyed a glowing reputation with all the clubs he played for and whenever he turned out for England the stats show how good a performer he was. Over his 10-year international career Martyn conceded just 18 goals in 23 games and kept a clean sheet in more than half his performances.

7.Peter Bonetti

The Cat was another whose international career was scuppered by a great being around at the same time in the form of Gordon Banks. Despite his fantastic reputation he only made seven appearances for his country but kept clean sheets in four of these showing just what he could do when called upon.

6. Paul Robinson

Robbo has had a strange career in some ways as he peaked early for a ‘keeper and when he reached what should be his prime years he tailed off a bit, but he still has a fabulous record for his country. The former Leeds and Spurs stopper accumulated 41 caps in an England shirt and let in just 22 goals along the way with a clean sheet ratio of nearly 60% which are stats anyone would be proud of.

5. Chris Woods

Not necessarily someone you would expect to see so high up this list but Woods’ stats really are impressive and stack up with the very best ever between the sticks for England. He was performing in some of England’s least successful years but still managed 25 clean sheets in 43 appearances leaving him with the best clean sheet ratio of anyone with over 10 caps, you can’t argue with that.

4. Ray Clemence

The Liverpool legend didn’t concede a goal on either his first or last game for England which bookended a fabulous international career that saw him pick up 61 caps from 1972-83.  His involvement in the national team decades after he retired from playing shows just how highly he is thought of by the FA.

3. David Seaman

Arsenal’s number one for much of the 1990s was also England’s first choice for a decade amassing 75 caps for his country including campaigns at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups and a memorable tournament at Euro 96. Just 44 goals conceded throughout his international career shows how tough he was to beat on the big stage and he was sorely missed when he retired.

2. Gordon Banks

The only England ‘keeper to ever win a major tournament, and what a tournament it was when he stood firm on route to his side lifting the World Cup in 1966. He played 73 times over a nine-year career and is often credited with the best save of all time from a Pele header which is still shown to admiring audiences across the world.

1. Peter Shilton

It would have to take something special to knock Banks off top spot and the man who has won more caps for England than any other is certainly something special. Shilton won a huge 125 caps from 1970-90, incredibly playing for five different clubs throughout his international career. He was between the sticks as England tragically lost on penalties to West Germany at Italia ’90 which was in a way a sad end but made him just the second England goalkeeper to make it into the World Cup semi-finals which is another note on his superb CV.


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