Football Features

Ranked: Every Premier League club’s back-up goalkeeper

By Squawka News

Published: 0:26, 15 May 2024 | Updated: 18:14, 19 May 2024

Everyone knows how important goalkeepers are to their team, but what about their back-ups?

The back-up goalkeeper has to simultaneously be an understudy and a challenger, simply because you never want your starter to get too complacent. But, at the same time, they are your starter, so the back-up can’t be expecting to play all the time. And hell, sometimes you even sign a back-up with an eye on making them the starter somewhere down to line. The role is multifaceted.


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So with that in mind, we’ve had a look at all 20 back-up goalkeepers in the Premier League and ranked them from worst to best based on their time in the English top flight.

20-11

  • 20. Ellery Balcombe (Brentford)
  • 19. Tim Krul (Leicester City)
  • 18. Adam Davies (Sheffield United)
  • 17. Dan Bentley (Wolves)
  • 16. Marek Rodák (Fulham)
  • 15. Ionuț Radu (Bournemouth)
  • 14. Arijanet Muric (Burnley)
  • 13. João Virgínia (Everton)
  • 12. Robin Olsen (Aston Villa) 
  • 11. Matt Turner (Nottingham Forest)

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10. Altay Bayindir

  • Club: Manchester United
  • Premier League minutes since 2022/23: 0

After successful spells at Ankaragücü and Fenerbahçe, where he kept 53 clean sheets in 164 appearances, Manchester United brought him to the Premier League this summer alongside fellow goalkeeper Andre Onana after David De Gea’s departure. However, the Turkish shot-stopper has made one appearance for the club, having to make do with a place on the bench.

9. Fraser Forster

  • Club: Tottenham 
  • Premier League minutes since 2022/23: 1,215

Fraser Forster was drafted into the Spurs XI for 14 Premier League games last season, where he made 32 saves and kept three clean sheets in Hugo Lloris’ place. However, after Ange Postecoglou entered the transfer market for a new number one and Guglielmo Vicario’s incredibly impressive start to life in North London, the now 35-year-old has been relegated to the bench again.

8. Martin Dúbravka

  • Club: Newcastle 
  • Premier League minutes since 2022/23: 2,050

With Nick Pope’s arrival from Burnley confirmed in 2022, Martin Dubravka’s run as Newcastle’s number one ended four years after joining Sparta Prague. Going from an ever-present and the club’s Player of the Year in 2019/20, Dubravka was sent out on loan to Manchester United last season and, in turn, missed out on a League Cup final appearance for the club after Pope’s sending-off against Liverpool, a game which Dubravka himself was subbed on for. However, Pope’s lengthy spell on the sidelines has seen the Slovakian international back under the Newcastle bar, keeping four clean sheets across 22 appearances this season.

7. Đorđe Petrović 

  • Club: Chelsea
  • Premier League minutes since 2022/23: 1,806

A couple of difficult moments aside, Petrovic has looked excellent since coming in for the injured Robert Sanchez, who might well find it tough to earn his place back when he returns to fitness. The Serbian has shown exactly why Chelsea pushed so hard to bring him from the New England Revolution in MLS.

6. Dean Henderson

  • Club: Crystal Palace 
  • Premier League minutes since 2022/23: 3,150

Having left Manchester United in the summer after several successful loan moves at Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest and failing to nail down a permanent place in the starting XI during his time at the club, Dean Henderson moved to London hoping to take the number one jersey at Crystal Palace. He had to sit behind Sam Johnstone at various points but due to his injury, Henderson got his chance and took it well.

5. Lukasz Fabianski

  • Club: West Ham
  • Premier League minutes since 2022/23: 3,831

Lukasz Fabianski finds himself firmly behind Alphonse Areola in the West Ham pecking order after spending five seasons as the Hammers’ number one. The Pole has had an impressive Premier League career, becoming one of four goalkeepers to make 1,00+ saves since data was first recorded in 2006/07 and being named Player of the Year at Swansea and West Ham. 

Now 39, his career is ending, but he is still a valuable backup for David Moyes.

4. Caoimhin Kelleher

  • Club: Liverpool 
  • Premier League minutes since 2022/23: 990

With Alisson sidelined for quite some time this season, Kelleher quickly had to prove he was more than just a goalkeeper. And he did just that, conceding just 11 goals in his 10 Premier League appearances this season — keeping two clean sheets along the way — with Liverpool undefeated in the league matches he’s played this term. He’s now back on the bench with Alisson fit, but his form will surely create a market for him in the summer if he wishes to find more regular starts.

3. Bart Verbruggen/Jason Steele 

  • Club: Brighton 
  • Premier League minutes since 2022/23: 1,800/2,610

It has been all change in goal for Brighton in recent seasons. First Roberto De Zerbi brought in Jason Steele for Robert Sanchez (who has since been sold to Chelsea), halfway through last season to help with his possession-based football, before young ‘keeper Bart Verbruggen arrived in the summer from Anderlecht to provide some healthy competition and this has been the case.

Steele has played 16 times in the Premier League this season, while Verbruggen has been given the nod more often recently but still endures the odd game on the bench.

2. Stefan Ortega

  • Club: Manchester City 
  • Premier League minutes since 2022/23: 541

Having mainly been brought in to be Manchester City’s cup ‘keeper, Stefan Ortega has had plenty of playing time across all competitions, including 14 appearances last season where he kept nine clean sheets, but was initially barely used in the Premier League. However, he’s been called into action more often this term with Ederson suffering a couple of injuries, and Ortega has kept four clean sheets and conceded just six goals in eight Premier League appearances in 2023/24. His one-on-one save against Son Heung-min recently may be remembered as the moment Manchester City sealed their fourth title in a row.

1. Aaron Ramsdale

  • Club: Arsenal
  • Premier League minutes since 2022/23: 3,960

Having taken the number one spot from Bernd Leno when he first joined the club, Aaron Ramsdale now finds himself in the same position as the German, back-up to former Brentford goalkeeper David Raya.  Despite finishing second to David De Gea in the Golden Glove standings last season, keeping 14 clean sheets in his 38 Premier League appearances, Mikel Arteta thought it was time for a change between the sticks and looking at the stats, you start to understand why.

Raya has performed higher in almost every regard, including with the ball at his feet, which is obviously one of Ramsdale’s main perks in the first place.

Of course, Ramsdale is still a regular call-up for England and will surely have no shortage of interest this summer as he looks to re-establish himself.

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