A New Lease Of Life
After Ralf Ragnick’s appointment as Manchester United’s interim boss, a quarter of Premier League clubs have now announced a new manager in the space of two weeks!
Whilst Dean Smith and Steven Gerrard enjoyed winning starts with Villa and Norwich respectively, Eddie Howe watched from his COVID quarantine as his Newcastle side drew 3-3 with Brentford.
As always, a new manager means new ideas and players who have been left out in the cold brought back and vice versa. In homage to the influx of fresh meat in the top division, we look at goalkeepers whose careers have been revitalised by the arrival of a new manager.
Joe Hart - Roberto Mancini
Fresh from a successful loan spell at Birmingham City, Joe Hart returned to Manchester City at the start of the 2010/11, as the future Premier League champions geared up for a first full season under Roberto Mancini.
Despite starting 40 games accumulatively across the 2007/08 and 2008/09 seasons, the City hierarchy were unconvinced about the youngster’s suitability to be the number one at that time, signing Shay Given in January 2009.
However, upon his return from St Andrew’s Hart was the undisputed number one for the remainder of Mancini’s tenure, starting every single Premier League game in that time. Winning the FA Cup in that first season and their first Premier League title in the next, the England international and the current Italy manager certainly enjoyed a successful working relationship.
Ali Al Habsi - Roberto Martinez
Widely regarded as the best Asian goalkeeper in the Premier League era, Ali Al Habsi may not have enjoyed as good a career if Roberto Martinez hadn’t shown faith in him.
Al Habsi, who made only ten appearances in five years at Bolton, joined Lancashire rivals Wigan on loan in 2010. He remained at Wigan until 2015 after signing a permanent deal shortly after.
Following half a decade in England with a handful of games, the Oman ‘keeper was suddenly playing every week under Roberto Martinez and even got his hands on the FA Cup in 2013 (Although he didn’t actually start that game.)
Whilst at Wigan Al Habsi established himself as a penalty specialist, saving 50% of those he faced and is considered a legend at the DW. He grew in stature and confidence whilst at the DW and you would suspect that was largely down to the well-liked Martinez.
Tim Howard - David Moyes
The period between Fabian Barthez and Edwin Van Der Sar was something of a goalkeeping purgatory for Manchester United, with neither Roy Carroll nor Tim Howard able to perform consistently enough to claim the number one spot.
Howard left United for Everton after the arrival of Edwin Van Der Sar, as the shrewd David Moyes saw a bargain in the American.
The consistency and stability Howard lacked at Old Trafford, he found at Goodison Park, making over 350 appearances for the Toffees in a decade at the club.
There can be no doubt that Moyes’ faith in Tim Howard changed the trajectory of his career and became one of the most reliable goalkeepers in the Premier League.