There’s been an interesting undercurrent of first choice World Cup goal keepers performing brilliantly in the tournament so far who represent Premier League clubs. Besides a few early blunders from keepers, the goalkeeping has in fact been quite solid throughout the majority of the tournament.
Maybe they’ve gotten used to the controversial Jabulani ball, or maybe they’ve just gotten the early tournament jitters out of their system. Regardless, a few not so first choice keepers for club are starting to prove their worth and making the most of the opportunity they’ve got to represent their respective countries at the World Cup.
Of course the Premier League is incredibly well represented at the World Cup with a list that runs a mile long, but the story of Ghana’s Richard Kingson, currently third choice at Wigan, is definitely one worth praising. Making his first international appearance in March of 1996 v Brazil, Kingson has gone on to represent his country 81 more times and even has one international goal to his name.
A Premier League player many didn’t know before the tournament, Kingson was the only Ghana player to complete all 12 qualifying matches for his country while he’s now been on the books at Wigan Athletic since 2008, his tenth professional club.
Kingson in goal for Ghana never seems to instill a great sense of confidence in the neutral observer. His movement is that of a lumbering, inexperienced goalkeeper, yet his play on the field proves his detractors wrong. He seems to make save after save and also has a strong command of his box when dealing with corners and long balls into the box.
In the round of 16 game v the US, Kingson was brilliant in keeping the US attack at bay by making multiple saves on way to a quarter final appearance for the Black Stars. In terms of statistics, Kingson is on par with the USA’s Tim Howard with minutes played, saves, passing, and has let in 2 fewer goals thus far. Surely most important for Kingson is the fact that Ghana remain in pursuit of a very realistic shot at a World Cup semi final when they take on Uruguay in a few days.
The pride the Ghanaian players will play with for the duration of their tournament as the only remaining African nation is sure to be unmatched by any other nation who also remain in pursuit of the World Cup title. For the neutral observer, the untimely injury and subsequent absence of Ghana’s and Chelsea’s Michael Essien remains a shocking occurrence as Ghana push on without their most important and arguably best player.
One would think after his solid World Cup display, Kingson would be a first choice keeper at Wigan as I’m sure Roberto Martinez will have taken notice of his third choice keeper. Although it’s yet to be seen whether or not Kingson will start any games for Wigan this season, it’s important to point out that Serbia’s Vladimir Stojkovic, who was also solid for Serbia before their elimination, is one spot up on the Wigan pecking order behind first choice Chris Kirkland. Such is the life of a goalkeeper.
One thing’s for sure, if Kirkland has a drop in form this year for the Latics, Roberto Martinez will definitely have a few World Cup veterans at his disposal, Kingson in particular, that would be chomping at the bit for some 1st team Premier League minutes.
The aforementioned keepers, Howard, Kingson and Stojkovic join a list of fellow Premier League keepers who’ve also seen action during the World Cup such as Stoke City’s Thomas Sorensen for Denmark, Fulham’s Mark Schwarzer for Australia and also Slovakia’s #1 Jan Mucha who recently secured a high profile move to Everton from Legia Warsaw in Poland. The move will take effect in July of this year.