Rank United's Goalkeepers over the years

golden_blunder

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Fair enough, in my ranking I don't mean that to disrespect De Gea, I love having him and I respect what he's done but he just doesn't get above the other 2 for me.
Same here.
I think schmeichel tops it because apart from his obvious ability, he simply intimidated strikers, his throws started instant attacks and he was pretty handy in the opposite box too!

VDS was a close 2nd for me, his level of calmness, unflappable and consistency.

I think DeGea has been great but there’s definite limitations in his game compared to the other 2
 

Mickson

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DDG, VDS then Schmeichel.

I feel that Schmeichel is a bit overrated. DDG, when he was at his best, is the best keeper United has ever had.
 

RooneyLegend

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VDS is no comparison to DDG. DDG used to change results by himself. A one man team if ive ever seen one.
 

Fingeredmouse

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Goalkeeping isnt just about spectacular saves. Van Der Sar was like a coach from behind the back four. A carming influence, talking the defenders through their positioning and helping their concentration. When it comes to shot stopping, De Gea is ahead of VDS. When it comes to just about every other aspect of goalkeeping, I dont think De Gea is anywhere close to Edwin.
Completely agree, although at shot stopping De Gea is quite extraordinary. It's this exceptional ability that I think hid his deficiencies to some extent especially in games where we're under the cosh.
 

POF

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It just goes to show the gulf between Schmeichel, De Gea, Van der sar and the rest that the vast majority of posts in this thread don't go beyond a top 3!
 

Fingeredmouse

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It just goes to show the gulf between Schmeichel, De Gea, Van der sar and the rest that the vast majority of posts in this thread don't go beyond a top 3!
Next best in recent times is probably Barthez but his form fell off a cliff half through his second season after a brilliant first season.
 

POF

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Next best in recent times is probably Barthez but his form fell off a cliff half through his second season after a brilliant first season.
It's actually really hard to rank the others. If Barthez was next best it shows how low standard the rest of them were!

I'd go with Bailey 4th but that's going back a long time. Post Schmeichel, I'd probably go with Howard, Romero or Van der Gouw. It's slim pickings!
 

The holy trinity 68

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I can only comment on GK’s in my life time which is from 1992.

From who I can remember, some memory isn’t great so sorry if my grading is a bit off.

In order of best for us to worst for us.

Schmeichel
DDG
VDS
Barthez
RVG
Carroll
Romero
Howard
Kusczak
Lindegaard
Foster
Bosnich
Walsh
Valdes
Taibi.
 

Fingeredmouse

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It's actually really hard to rank the others. If Barthez was next best it shows how low standard the rest of them were!

I'd go with Bailey 4th but that's going back a long time. Post Schmeichel, I'd probably go with Howard, Romero or Van der Gouw. It's slim pickings!
Barthez was very good indeed at first. The end of his time here colours perception.
 

Macern

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1. De Gea
2. Van der Sar
3. Barthez
4. Romero
5. Lindegaard
6. Valdes
7. Howard
8. Carroll

I’m too young to have seen Schmeichel (and I was a kid when Barthez played, but for some reason he was my favourite player and I also had a Barthez shirt so he gets a spot on the list)
 

Fingeredmouse

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1. Schmeichel
2. VDS
3. DDG
4. Barthez
5. VDG
 

POF

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Barthez was very good indeed at first. The end of his time here colours perception.
He was. But those mistakes against Arsenal in such a crucial game were criminal.

For a top club, you need your keeper to be solid. Barthez was really athletic and made some amazing saves but he was really inconsistent.
 

WI_Red

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Sentimental #1 will always be Howard. As a young American who played goalkeeper and was in search of a team to support he was the hero we needed to arrive at exactly the same time FSW began broadcasting games. He is the reason I am a United fan.

Back to reality though:

Schmeichel
DDG
VdS
.
.
.
.
Romero
Howard
Carroll
.
.
A bunch of other guys
.
.
Rio Ferdinand
John O'Shea
.
.
Taibi
 

Nickelodeon

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Completely agree, although at shot stopping De Gea is quite extraordinary. It's this exceptional ability that I think hid his deficiencies to some extent especially in games where we're under the cosh.
Can you elaborate on this point a bit?

In my opinion, during the decent run of games we've had under LVG and Mourinho, there were numerous instances where we were "under the cosh" and managed to cling on to a one goal lead due to De Gea's brilliance. Random examples without looking anything up is Everton at home in 2014, City away 3-2 comeback win where De Gea made a spectacular one handed save, Watford away at the start of 2018-19.

De Gea did have weaknesses in his game in the beginning of his United career but he has overcome those and emerged as one of the (if not the) best GKs of his generation. I'm genuinely interested in knowing which of deficiencies were hidden when we're under the cosh.
 

Nickelodeon

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Goalkeeping isnt just about spectacular saves. Van Der Sar was like a coach from behind the back four. A carming influence, talking the defenders through their positioning and helping their concentration. When it comes to shot stopping, De Gea is ahead of VDS. When it comes to just about every other aspect of goalkeeping, I dont think De Gea is anywhere close to Edwin.
There are two counter points to that:

  • VDS has played almost his entire United career with Vidic and Ferdinand in front of him. While De Gea has probably had Jones and Smalling as probably the most played CBs during his time.
  • If a GK's peak is to be understood, ideally, De Gea is just about to enter his, so probably the calming influence which we saw in VDS might become a feature of DDG's game in the future.

Having said that, in terms of pure goalkeeping performances and digging out improbable saves, De Gea has been miles ahead of anyone I have ever seen play football. Whether that is down to his lack of leadership (or calming influence) or the sheer incompetence of the ones in front of him will always remain subjective.
 

Web of Bissaka

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At their peak-est, *pure goalkeeping = shot stopping specific*
  1. De Gea
  2. Schmeichel
  3. Van der Sar
  4. Barthez
  5. Van der Gouw
Maybe I just don't remember Schmeichel much, but De Gea's peak about 3-4 years ago is just godlike, and as others have stated, it's like one-man army at times. Possibly recency bias but that's how I see it. Penalty is the best way to beat that De Gea.
 

Ekeke

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I think I've cracked it:

If your defense is great/world class(9 out of 10 or higher): go with VDS.
If your defense is decent/good(rated 7/8 out of 10): go with Pete.
If your defense is mediocre or even bad: go with DDG.
I'm gonna say the opposite.

If your defense isnt that good you'd want VDS who was consistent and good in all areas but maybe great in fewer. He'll make your defense look better, more composed and organized. Not the very best shot stopper but when a shot is right in the corner you'll tend to forgive the keeper. And he'll take the pressure off the defense at times by coming for crosses and dealing with them.

If your defense is great then go with DDG because the opposition will end up trying their luck from a long range and at least when on form, De Gea has been an excellent shot stopper and should deal with it. On a bad day he has concentration issues however.

DDG isnt good on crosses and doesnt have the same kind of presence as a DDG or Schemichael so the defenders cant rely on him to deal with balls in the air.

If you have a weaker defense DDG will make some spectacular saves but will be given all the credit, none of it gets given to the defenders even if one or more of them are good and are let down by other members of the defense or too exposed by the midfield not helping enough.

I'd say go with Schemichael if your defense is full of tough characters who can handle abuse and lots of added pressure (from him). If you need a big performance on a big stage in a one off match maybe you go for him. Also perhaps if you're going to try and play the offside trap a lot to deal with runners in behind your defence. If you get the line wrong and the opposition player is bearing down on goal you'd want Schemicael in that one on one.
 

Longlivekeano

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Easy

1. Schmeichel (always had slow defenders like May, Brucie, Pally and always exposed a few times a match. Sometimes had 1-2 stinkers a season where he concedes 5-6 goals but overall still the best in terms of command of area, claiming crosses)
2. VDS (best organizer of defence and so hardly needed to make a save. But aided by world class CBs)
3. De Gea (superb reflexes but lack trophies to stake a proper claim against Great Dane and VDS)
 

fps

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You could just as easily argue the reverse though. That VDS was protected and made better by having two of the best centre backs in Europe in front of him, both of whom were leaders in their own right and capable of organising themselves. Whereas DDG was left dealing with Chris Smalling (who very much isn't one of the best defenders in Europe) and someone else who wasn't even as good as Chris Smalling.

Our defence was certainly sufficiently organised when DDG won the league under SAF with those better players in front of him. It was their decline/departure rather than Van Der Sar's that saw our defensive organisation malfunction and decline.
Oh I know, believe me!
 

fps

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Goalkeeping isnt just about spectacular saves. Van Der Sar was like a coach from behind the back four. A carming influence, talking the defenders through their positioning and helping their concentration. When it comes to shot stopping, De Gea is ahead of VDS. When it comes to just about every other aspect of goalkeeping, I dont think De Gea is anywhere close to Edwin.
I agree, but then he had better players to order around who could also make decisions for themselves. Rio for instance though I think had a mistake in him without a good keeper talking to him, early on at least.
 

OleBoiii

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I'm gonna say the opposite.
I mean, it's heart-breaking to lose a game/trophy because of a goalkeeper mistake. If you lose, then you want it to be because you were outplayed or because the opponent countered your style perfectly. World class saves typically come from clear cut chances, and you're not gonna concede too many of those when the defense is world class. And when you do, the defense is more to blame than the keeper anyways.

Of course it's nice as a defender to know that your keeper can pull off outrageous saves on a consistent basis, but I'd honestly prefer a smart goalkeeper who makes few mistakes if I knew that I was world class myself. No feeling is worse than doing your job perfectly and still losing.
 

Ekeke

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I mean, it's heart-breaking to lose a game/trophy because of a goalkeeper mistake. If you lose, then you want it to be because you were outplayed or because the opponent countered your style perfectly. World class saves typically come from clear cut chances, and you're not gonna concede too many of those when the defense is world class. And when you do, the defense is more to blame than the keeper anyways.

Of course it's nice as a defender to know that your keeper can pull off outrageous saves on a consistent basis, but I'd honestly prefer a smart goalkeeper who makes few mistakes if I knew that I was world class myself. No feeling is worse than doing your job perfectly and still losing.
I think over the course of his career DDG has been better at saving shots from distance than VDS and if your defense is that great that will end up being the tactic used against you.
 

OleBoiii

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I think over the course of his career DDG has been better at saving shots from distance than VDS and if your defense is that great that will end up being the tactic used against you.
Generally speaking very few goals are conceded from distance anyways, so I wouldn't have this high upon the list of priorities. Also, I don't think VDS was much worse(if worse at all) at long range attempts. DDG is generally quicker(and thus have better reach), but he's also occasionally caught sleeping in a way that VDS rarely was.
 

OleBoiii

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I think over the course of his career DDG has been better at saving shots from distance than VDS and if your defense is that great that will end up being the tactic used against you.
Also: I don't necessarily think long-shots is the main tactic against world class defenses. Even world class defenders can be countered or lose the occasional duel in the air.
 

Maticmaker

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Depends on what you use for ranking criteria, of the ones I've seen it would be;

1- Peter Schmeichel -Advantages ; played behind great teams (treble winners), height and bulk; strengths; shot stopping, marshalling defenders, throwing the ball out to start attacks; weaknesses; getting caught straying off his line, tendency to get chipped
2- Edwin Van der Sar - Advantages played behind good teams, Height, anticipation, calm under pressure; strengths; overall positioning, commits attackers in one-to-one's, encourages defenders; weaknesses, reactions slowed in his later years.
3-David De Gea: Advantages; great with his feet, tremendous stretch/ leap/reach; strengths, great shot-stopper; weaknesses, stays on his line too much, surrenders his area too often relying on defenders, distribution only average
4-Harry Gregg: (different era) Advantages, physical presence was greater than his size would suggest, strengths; absolutely fearless in going for the ball anywhere in his goal area and occasionally the whole penalty box, took no prisoners in one-on-one situations (got away with murder at times) great reach and acrobatic performance, reached shots you wouldn't expect him to get anywhere near; weaknesses; frightened his own defenders with his kamikaze like dashes across the box/going for highballs, average shot stopping, occasionally 'got done by the eyes'
5- Alex Stepney; Advantages; excellent defenders in front of him, strengths; shot stopping, covering his angles, famous one-on-one stop against Eusebio in 1968 European Final; weaknesses some times delayed too long and surrender advantages on positioning.
 

tomaldinho1

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might be less popular but VDS > Schmeichel > DDG for me.

The way I see it is VDS was probably the most all round keeper I can think of. Best way I can explain, although v simplistic, is if you think of it like Top Trumps he wouldn't score as high as Schmeichel for one on ones or DDG for shot stopping (just as exmaples) but he is solid across the board. Great with the ball at his feet, great coming for crosses, good one vs one, very hard to beat from range, great organiser and I feel like he made less mistakes than the other two. He's essentially the Dennis Irwin of GKs in that he was consistently an 8 or 9 out of 10 without any drama or fuss and that's the highest praise I can give him.
 

Grande

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Going by what I’ve read as much as by what I’ve seen:

HC: Harry Gregg - other keepers saved shots, he did too, but added to that he saved human lives.

C1: 1. Schmeichel - shotstopper, first defender, chaos machine, organizer, first attacker, winner. 2. Van der Sar - was one of the best at everything, and made everybody around him the best at everything. 3. De Gea - The best shot stopper I’ve ever seen, probably that ever played.

C2: 1. Stepney - Top English keeper, important for first European triumph. 2. Bailey - held back by injuries, almostness and the two best English keepers bar Banksie from greater laurels both at home and Internationally. 3. Barthez - underrated serial winner, but not at his best for United, but hilarious. 4. Ray Wood - League winner, played an FA Cup final with a broken jaw 5. Harry Moger - Never capped, but held the back during our first Golden Era.

C3: 1. Raymond van der Gouw - just so likeable and dependable. 2. Sergio Romero- Him too. 3. Gary Walsh - decent. Ed. 4. Tim Howard - forgot him, really enjoyable.

C4: 1. John O’Shea - brilliant. 2. Rio Ferdinand - terrible. 3. Paddy Roche - had the football card, loved the name, didn’t do much. 4. Jim Leighton - not fantastic, subbed, didn’t handle it too well 5. Massimo Taibi - nuff said.
 

Fingeredmouse

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Can you elaborate on this point a bit?

In my opinion, during the decent run of games we've had under LVG and Mourinho, there were numerous instances where we were "under the cosh" and managed to cling on to a one goal lead due to De Gea's brilliance. Random examples without looking anything up is Everton at home in 2014, City away 3-2 comeback win where De Gea made a spectacular one handed save, Watford away at the start of 2018-19.

De Gea did have weaknesses in his game in the beginning of his United career but he has overcome those and emerged as one of the (if not the) best GKs of his generation. I'm genuinely interested in knowing which of deficiencies were hidden when we're under the cosh.
His, possibly peerless, shot stopping ability means that when we're under intense pressure he, sometimes almost single handedly (or footedly, given his style) kept us in games. Such matches play to his incredible strength in shot stopping. I struggle to think of a reaction shot stopper I've ever seen who is as good - a younger Goram maybe comes close.

However, his defensive organisation is not as good as VDS or Schmeichel especially in more open situations, his command of the box beyond the goal line isn't tremendous, his distribution is decent but not great and he's not brilliant one on one. In games where we're more dominant these deficiencies can get exposed. He's still fabulous of course but he is a better keeper, I feel, the worse the team that he plays in is because his strengths are focused on if he's getting peppered with shots. I also feel that when we're dominant he can sometimes switch off a little so we can concede in games where we're on top - this is as much an issue with our defending of course but it seems to me that errors are less frequent in his game when he's under constant pressure and focused.

So, yes, he'll save us points of course because he is a truly exceptional shot stopper and the more shots he faces the better he becomes. He's a very good keeper indeed, but VDS's consistency and intelligent calmness and Schmeichel's all round, if occasionally flakey, brilliance (he's only marginally a worse shot stopper than De Gea) puts them ahead of De Gea in general for me.
 

el3mel

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Schmeichel
VDS
De Gea

Big Pete is obvious, but i put VDS next because whilst De Gea is a better shotstopper, VDS didn't have any significant weaknesses to his game the way De Gea does. He had no problems coming off his line and he was also an excellent organiser that contributed to our world class defensive unit. Preventing a shot coming in the first place is just as important as saving it.
Agree. One or 2 years ago I would have put DDG ahead of VDS but I have changed my opinion recently. VDS is still the more complete GK.
 

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I'm also in the DDG > VDS club... not really that close for me either. Think DDG is definitely the superior keeper out of the two, so much so I would put him and Schmeichel as being quite close, but ultimately I think Big Pete takes top spot.
 

reddevil80

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I grew up watching Bailey, legend back then.

However, I'm going to say

1) Schmeichel
2) VdS
3)DdG

Huge respect to Stepney and Gregg though. Absolute heroes on and off the pitch.

P.s, Where's bow legged Leighton? ha ha ha
 

Ekeke

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Also: I don't necessarily think long-shots is the main tactic against world class defenses. Even world class defenders can be countered or lose the occasional duel in the air.
Yes but when its not working you change your tactics, and players get desperate over the course of a game and resort to trying something special. Sometimes it works and De Gea is more likely to deal with it
 

Ekeke

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Generally speaking very few goals are conceded from distance anyways, so I wouldn't have this high upon the list of priorities. Also, I don't think VDS was much worse(if worse at all) at long range attempts. DDG is generally quicker(and thus have better reach), but he's also occasionally caught sleeping in a way that VDS rarely was.
De Gea has amazing reactions, VDS not so much
 

golden_blunder

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DDG, VDS then Schmeichel.

I feel that Schmeichel is a bit overrated. DDG, when he was at his best, is the best keeper United has ever had.
schmeichel most definitely was not overrated. Probably the best goalkeeper I’ve seen in my lifetime. He could literally be invincible on days.
 

golden_blunder

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I can only comment on GK’s in my life time which is from 1992.

From who I can remember, some memory isn’t great so sorry if my grading is a bit off.

In order of best for us to worst for us.

Schmeichel
DDG
VDS
Barthez
RVG
Carroll
Romero
Howard
Kusczak
Lindegaard
Foster
Bosnich
Walsh
Valdes
Taibi.
I’d have Romero at number 4 and big Raimond at number 5
 

FujiVice

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There are two counter points to that:
  • VDS has played almost his entire United career with Vidic and Ferdinand in front of him. While De Gea has probably had Jones and Smalling as probably the most played CBs during his time
De Gea's also played with top centre halfs for Spain as well. And let them down badly in some big games. Van Der Sar made the defenders in front of him better. There's no evidence that De Gea does. Even with better defenders in front of him, take Van Der Sar out of our 06-11 side and results will certainly suffer throughout the 38 games. Take De Gea out and put Romero in, and to me there's little difference.