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Joe Hart Has The Potential to Rival Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence

22 Jun 1986:  Peter Shilton of England catches the ball during the 1986 World Cup quarter final match against Argentina at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, Mexico. Argentina won the match 2-1.  Mandatory Credit: David  Cannon/Allsport

Joe Hart’s triple save Monday night for Manchester City against Liverpool as well as his heroic saves for City against Tottenham Hotspur on the opening day of the season have been the difference for City thus far this season. City would definitely have lost against Spurs if it wasn’t for Hart. And the scoreline in Monday’s entertaining game against Liverpool would have been much closer if Hart hadn’t been playing.

Hart’s agility and speed are incredible to behold. Watching him Monday night, he reminded me of two great England goalkeeping legend from the past, Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence. While Hart still has a long way to go before he can match Shilton or Clemence, he has the potential to be considered with those greats. The key marker is consistency. It’s the concentration of a long season in England and Europe that will test Hart. The former Shrewsbury Town goalkeeper has a long way to go before he can establish himself as the permanent Manchester City and England goalkeeper, but his performances so far this season have persuaded any doubters that he has the talent. Whether he can pull it off on a consistent basis, we’ll have to wait and see but he’s been a joy to watch especially during the drought of England goalkeeping talent.

In the 1970s and 1980s, England’s goalkeeping talent was so good that the national team manager often had a very hard job choosing which goalkeeper to select. As a result, Shilton and Clemence were both used interchangeably. And, at the time, there was always serious debates about which one supporters preferred. Myself, I was a Ray Clemence man. I had nothing against Peter Shilton, but maybe it was because the Liverpool team of the late 70s were so awe-inspiring to watch that I preferred Clemence. Or maybe it was because Shilton was more of a journeyman goalkeeper, while Clemence started off with Scunthorpe, playing 48 games there and then, incredibly, Clemence made 665 league appearances for Liverpool and then went on to play 240 times for Tottenham Hotspur. Shilton, on the other hand, played at Leicester City, Stoke, Nottingham Forest, Southampton, Derby, Plymouth, Wimbledon, Bolton, Coventry, West Ham and Leyton Orient. All in all, he amassed 1005 league appearances.

At the international level, because of the competition for the number one jersey with Shilton, Clemence made 61 appearances for England in a 12 year international career. Shilton, on the other hand, had a 20-year international career with England and earned 125 caps.

For a glimpse at the incredible goalkeeping saves of Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence, watch the following videos:

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  1. Simon Burke

    August 25, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Absolutely, most English fans wanted Hart to be the number 1. I first was impressed by him in the U-21s last Summer. His composure in a penalty shootout made him stand out and he was then exceptional at Birmingham. Capello made a mistake not picking him but hindsight is 20/20 I suppose.

    Definitely appears to be the best keeper we have had since Shilton (and early-middle years Seaman). The question will be what happens when he make a gaffe or 2. Cech made a couple of couple and he was suddenly a bad keeper over night which is nonsense of course.

  2. brn442

    August 24, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    I’m glad that Mancini took the chance in such a high pressure job and not playing it safe by starting Hart. The season is still a long way to go, Hart still has to work on his decision making when he releases the ball but so far so good. Forget Shilton, he should be reaching for Gordon Banks.

  3. Scott Alexander

    August 24, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Hart isn’t on the level of Casillas or Buffon but Hart also hasn’t played only 2 matches, he’s got about 90 premiership caps between Birmingham and Manchester plus another 15+ FA Cup & Europa. He was one of the top keepers in the premiership last year and one of the most significant players in the league.

    I’d put him at least on par with his nearest contemporaries, Hugo LLoris and ahead of Sergio Asenjo at this point. In the premiership, I’d put him slightly behind Cech, Van der Sar, and Friedel but above everybody else. And Van der Sar and Friedel are pretty much at the end of their careers.

  4. Ryan Walkers

    August 24, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    I won’t read all of this article, but to say someone has the potential to be a great based on two performances is a reason why players are rated higher than they are, HYPE.

    These names you mentioned, they had over 15 years of achievement at the highest levels, Hart has only played 2 games! Really, lets be realistic here, Almunia has had a string of perfomances that were top notch, but when the troughs came, they were deep.

    Lets not build players up just to get columns. I hear some say Hart is on the same level as Cassillas-Cesar-Buffon…………really? Count how many seasons these guys have been winning titles, making crucial saves etc etc. Hart is closer to the moon, than to those guys levels.

  5. Smokey Bacon

    August 24, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Shitters was the nuts and a far better keep than Ray Clemence. Ron Greenwood made the right call when it came to the world cup. My memory of Clemence was him letting the ball through through his legs against Scotland at Wembley. I recall that was the year they invaded the pitch and rode the crossbar!

  6. che

    August 24, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    too early to tell, lets see what happens like after 2 years.

  7. Scott Alexander

    August 24, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    England has a rich tradition in goal, Gordon Banks, Peter Bonetti, Ron Springett et cetera. Too bad Capello trusts experience over quality

  8. Jon Sharp

    August 24, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    What Joe Hart did against Tottenham and Liverpool in the last two weeks, he was doing all last season for Birmingham. Yet he never got a look in for England in the summer. It seems Mancini is more intellectually honest than Capello in acting on the evidence.

    • TangoAlphaLima

      August 24, 2010 at 4:10 pm

      Hart’s sharp play early on this season is just further proof that Capello is a bumbling idiot.

  9. fsquid

    August 24, 2010 at 9:07 am

    He’s no Kevin Pressman.

  10. patrick

    August 24, 2010 at 7:14 am

    Confidence is a preference for the habitual voyeur of what is known as, Parklife…

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