Top 3 Championship Goalkeepers So Far This Season
Getting promoted or avoiding relegation from this division often depends on having a great last line of defence. Keepers right up to the standard of Kasper Schmeichel have plied their trade in this division before making it big in the Premier League, so we often see future stars doing their thing in the Championship.
This season has been another vintage year for goalkeepers in England’s second tier, with some putting themselves forward for England duty at this year’s World Cup in Russia. Here are (arguably) the best three so far:
Frank Fielding – Bristol City
At 29 years of age, he is far from past it as a ‘keeper and I think that’s the key point here. Back around 2008, Fielding was touted as the next big thing in English football and was capped 12 times for England under-21’s. It never quite happened for Fielding in the top division despite the big reputation and he ended up moving from Blackburn seven times on loan before permanently signing for Derby County in 2011.
Still not settled, he moved to Bristol City and found his feet and now has performed brilliantly over the last couple of seasons at Ashton Gate and given that he plays behind a very open and freestyle football which welcomes the opposition to have a go, I’d say his performances top anything else and it rates the best in this division right now. He can yet be a permanent fixture in the Premier League.
John Ruddy – Wolverhampton Wanderers
It’s been said on these pages again and again; John Ruddy is one of the most underrated goalkeepers in the Championship and maybe even in England. Having been outstanding at times for Norwich City, Ruddy got a move to the new second tier superpower Wolverhampton Wanderers in the summer and carried on the good work.
Despite the presence of Portuguese speakers like Neves, Cavaleiro, Jota and Bonatini, it’s players like Ruddy who are the last line of defence and get on with their game with the minimum of fuss. The former Everton man just keeps getting better this season and has now said publicly that he wants to be recognised by England manager Gareth Southgate. Who can blame him?
Sam Johnstone – Aston Villa
The on-loan Manchester United stopper looks every inch a Premier League player at Villa Park and time will tell where he plays his top-level football in the near future.
For now, he’s plying his trade in the Championship and over the course of this season has shown himself to be one of the best ‘keepers around but most importantly the one who is improving more than most. An England stopper of the future, I’m sure.