Living up to the 'Hype'?
The English Premier League boasts a host of talented goalkeepers which has only been added to in the last couple of years with the arrivals of Edersen and Alison Becker.
Not to mention the World Cup Winner, Hugo Lloris and Spain’s number one, David De Gea who have over a dozen Premier League seasons between them.
Like any position on the field, there have also been several who have not lived up to the hype surrounding them.
Here are three Premier League stoppers who were tipped for greatness but for one reason or another, never fulfilled it.
Back in the early 2000’s as David Seaman approached his twilight years, Richard Wright was touted as his long-term replacement for club and country, with Arsenal signing him in 2001 following an impressive start to his career at Ipswich.
In Ipswich’s first season back in the topflight in 2000/01, Wright inspired the Tractor Boys to surprising fifth place and qualification into the UEFA Cup, earning an England cap in the process.
Wright joined the Gunners the next summer as a twenty-four-year-old and was quickly given the opportunity to demonstrate his capabilities as Seaman’s successor after an injury to his predecessor and made a promising start with a clean sheet away to Derby on his debut.
However, the high expectations were to be short-lived as the ex-Ipswich man suffered a decline in form, which included a disastrous display at Deportivo in the Champions League where he was hauled off for Stuart Taylor at half time. Despite this, his twelve Premier League appearances qualified him for a Premier League winners’ medal.
Joining Everton in the summer of 2002, Wright had a decent first season at Goodison put a string of injuries and the performances of Nigel Martyn, meant that he would be a spectator for the majority of his remaining four seasons at the club.
A string of clubs thereafter, including a return to former side Ipswich, Wright was unable to establish himself at any and dreams of England glory were a distant memory.
However, he was part of two further Premier League title celebrations after signing for Manchester City in 2012 in order for the club to meet their quota of homegrown players and remains on the Eastland’s coaching staff.
Chris Kirkland enjoyed a successful career by many standards, but after joining Liverpool from Coventry City for a record £6 million in 2001, Kirkland did not reach the lofty expectations that were thrust upon him at a young age.
Having ousted Jerzey Dudek as number one in his second season at Anfield, Kirkland’s progress was stunted after suffering an ankle injury in January 2003.
Persistent injuries and the arrival of Pepe Reina meant that Kirkland left on loan spells to West Brom and Wigan in search of first team football, joining the latter permanently in 2006.
The slender 6 ft 6 figure would impress at the JJB Stadium upon his arrival and earned his first England cap in August 2006 (despite being named in several squads prior to that).
He would enjoy his best football at Wigan, playing the vast majority of The Latics Premier League games between 2006 and 2010, before Ali Al-Habsi was installed as first choice after some heavy defeats in the 2009/10 season.
A couple of seasons as Sheffield Wednesday’s number one, as did spells with Preston and Bury before hanging up his gloves in 2016.
An impressive career, yet somewhat falling short of the expectation that comes with being the most expensive player in your position and it could have been very different had it not been for his bad luck.
A one-club-man for the majority of his career, Steve Harper’s sporadic yet impressive displays in Newcastle’s starting eleven, left many hypothesising that he would have been destined for glittering career and a place in the England set up, had he not played second-fiddle to Shay Given for so long.
A Sunderland fan and ironically where he finished his career, Harper joined Newcastle United at the age of eighteen and would remain part of the furniture at St James’ Park for twenty years.
After successful loan spell at Huddersfield in the 1997/98 season, Harper provided very reliable backup for the formidable Shay Given for a number of seasons.
Given didn’t leave Newcastle until 2009 and by that point Steve Harper was in his mid-thirties. Harper finally cemented himself as number one and despite being a very decent ‘keeper at that time, his best years were almost certainly behind him.
From 2013-15 Harper joined fellow Geordie Steve Bruce at Hull City, before ending his career at Sunderland, sitting on the bench as a win for the Black Cats mathematically relegated The Magpies in May 2016.
Did Harper waste his career on the Newcastle bench? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.