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Monday 23 April 2012

20 Seasons Awards: Tony Parks on the goalkeepers

Tottenham goalkeeping coach on the 10 contenders for Premier League's top stopper

The 10 contenders to be in the Premier League's Fantasy Team for the 20 Seasons Awards


As part of the Premier League's 20 Seasons Awards, fans from around the world and a panel of football experts will choose the perfect Fantasy Team from the history of the competition.

Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeping coach Tony Parks has worked with some of the best custodians in the game, and he talked through the individual attributes of the 10 contenders for the number one spot...


"He had a confident arrogance and was the boss of the defence"
- On Peter Schmeichel

"Schmeichel had a confident arrogance that was such a massive influence on the players he played behind and he was very much the boss of the defence.

"He had a real presence about him when he played, and he was a fantastically gifted goalkeeper in terms of agility as well. Schmeichel was among the very best, there's no doubt about that."


"My favourite goalkeeper of his era, no question. When you saw David Seaman on the football pitch he just exuded confidence. I watched him growing up a little bit in terms of where he came from and where he went to, and at every stage he got better and better.

"I spoke to [England goalkeeping coach] Ray Clemence about him and he said if you saw him standing there with his kit on ready to go out to play for England, he would inspire the other players. They would be looking at him thinking 'Yes, he's playing for us today'."


"He's the truly great footballing goalkeeper of our times"
- On Edwin van der Sar

"He's a massive favourite of mine; I think he's the truly great footballing goalkeeper of our times. Terrific with the ball at his feet, he came from a culture at Ajax where they played with the ball out from the back and he could use his feet brilliantly.

"He played football and he translated that into the Premier League, which wasn't easy to do when he first started out at Fulham. But he mastered it and was the reason for a lot of Man Utd's success in recent years."


"Top goalie, Shay. He's another one that doesn't really fit the bill of a goalkeeper because these days people think you have to be 6ft 4in, 6ft 5in, and Shay's only 6ft 1in.

"But year-in, year-out Shay has absolutely proved that that adage is absolute nonsense - it's ability that counts and Shay has it in abundance. He's a good distributor of the ball, has terrific presence in the goal and he's a very strong character too."


"He doesn't make mistakes - his consistency is second to none"
- On Brad Friedel

"I've been lucky enough to work with Brad since he signed for Spurs last summer and he's a dream to work with - he trains the same every single day and doesn't ever miss training, he's always trying to get better.

"Brad is a keeper that doesn't really make mistakes. He's very steady in what he does, very conscious of the fact that he knows what he's good at. He doesn't try to be too clever and he's got a level of consistency that's really second to none."


"A great keeper. I think Petr went through a period for three or four years where he was, for me, the best goalkeeper in the world. He has a command of crosses which I think in the English game is very important, and has produced some top-level performances.

"Again, he's another one that absolutely enjoys his training, I know because I talk to [Spurs keeper] Carlo Cudicini about him a lot. He enjoys his football and he's another one that wants to keep going for as long as he possibly can."


"The speed of his distribution sets him apart from the other keepers"
- On Pepe Reina

"It's a shame his superb run of consecutive matches had to end recently with his red card, I didn't expect it to end on such a sour note. But he fits the bill of a top goalkeeper, he has a strong mental attitude and fantastic ability, he's also got great speed around the penalty area.

"That speed helps when he's setting up counter-attacks, and that probably sets him apart from the others at the moment - his distribution. He's also been loyal to Liverpool when others might have left and I think that might bear fruit for the club."


"David is one of the most under-rated goalkeepers of recent years. He had everything in terms of agility, mobility, ability to deal with crosses and he's a great presence around the goal. It's very sad that some people only talk about David when he makes a mistake.

"Two men really moved goalkeeping forward in England: Bruce Grobbelaar, when he started playing for Liverpool and dominated his area 15, 16 yards out from crosses; and David James, who then took that to the next level. And he was always prepared to put himself on the line."


"For me, he's now in the top three goalkeepers in the world"
- On Joe Hart

"I like Joe. I know him from my days at the FA, I worked with him when he was 15 until about 17, 18. I first saw him play for Shrewsbury Under-18s when he was 15 and he had bundles of ability and a real wow factor too.

"He also had the chance early on to play a lot of matches, which is something many young English keepers don't get to do, and from there he gained a lot of experience. Sven-Goran Eriksson gave him a chance early on at Man City and he has repaid their faith. For me, he's now in the top three keepers in the world."


"People tell me Mark's a fantastic trainer too with a real love for the game and I think he's very similar to Brad in many ways. He plays to his strengths and he has a good presence in the goal.

"It went great for him at Middlesbrough, he moved to Fulham and he's kicked on again, and without him in goal they probably wouldn't have reached the Europa League final in 2010 or finished as high in the Premier League recently. The importance of having a great goalkeeper is really apparent now to most managers."


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Key Points

  • Premier League is celebrating 20 Seasons
  • Awards for the greatest stars and best moments in Premier League history
  • An expert panel as well as fans will decide on the perfect Fantasy Team