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Seven for Seven: Goalkeepers

In this special, I will analyse and identify the 7 best modern day players in 7 positions, Goalkeeper, Full-back, Centre-back, Centre midfield, winger, attacking midfielder and striker.

Matthias Hangst

A good Goalkeeper has been hard to come by in past years for many clubs but recently there has been a new breed of goalkeepers that have emerged onto the scene called "Sweeper Keepers". The old-fashioned keepers had their methods of stand tall and make yourself big, a classic example was Peter Schmeichel. The Great Dane was renowned for his shot stopping but the new style has come about that the new brand of goalkeeper has equipped themselves with adapting the shot stopper into a new style of football. However below we will see 7 keepers that control different aspects of the game.

Starting off we have David De Gea, the Spaniard made the £18 million from Athletico Madrid to Manchester United in the summer of 2011. His immaturity and lack of experience in a different playing styles affected his first season greatly. The 24 year old was caught out on numerous occasions, often flapping at crosses in no man's lad and spilling the ball more than once. The media blamed De Gea for Blackburn's 3rd goal at Old Trafford in their famous 3-2 defeat back in 2011 after failing to claim a cross that he came for. However, the Spaniard continued to show glimpses of why he was brought in, a string of impressive in saves in numerous games showed the United faithful why they'd invested in him. A particular highlight for myself was the 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge were De Gea leapt at full stretch to tip away a Juan Mata free kick that was heading towards the top corner. De Gea has come on leaps and bounds since his first season, the former Athletico man is showing confidence at aerial balls and tremendous amount of ability in his shot stopping. De Gea has matured greatly over 3 years and is an ever growing talent in the Premier League.

Next we cross Manchester to one of our own, Joe Hart. Hart made his move from Shrewsbury to Manchester City in 2006 for an initial fee of £600,000. Hart had loan spells with Tranmere, Blackpool and a successful loan at Birmingham City in 2009, this earned him a place in England's World Cup squad but never playing. The former Shrewsbury man carved his way into the Man City team in the 2010-11 season and proceeded to win the Golden Glove in the same year. At times Hart has been questioned on his ability to read the game but his passion and sheer motivation to improve is unquestionable and this season looks to be his best. The introduction of Willy Caballero from Malaga has given that extra motivation and much needed pressure to Hart in order to retain his place in Manuel Pellegrini's side. The England international is assertive, technically able and more than willing to compete. Joe Hart is already at the top of English football, can he improve even more and compete with Europe's elite?

We stay in England for our 3rd keeper and it's the big Belgian Thibaut Courtois. Courtois has finally earned his place in the Chelsea line up after 3 seasons on loan at La Liga champions Athletico Madrid. The 22 year old was at Belgian giants Genk since he was 7 years old but made the move to Stamford Bridge in 2009 for an undisclosed fee and just weeks after made the loan move to Madrid. Courtois went on to make 111 appearances in 3 years for Los Colchoneros winning 1 La Liga, 1 Europa League and A Copa Del Ray. Courtois's large stature makes him an incredible shot stopper and teamed with his ever growing confidence and experience equips the former Genk man with a great ability to deal with aerial balls. Thibaut Courtois is tipped for big things in football and I'm sure the former Athletico man won't disappoint.

Our 4th stop on this trip is White Hart Lane where we follow Hugo Lloris. The 27 year old made his move across the channel from Marseille for a cut price of £7.8 million in 2012. Since then, Lloris has gone on to make 82 appearances for Spurs. The former Marseille man is a classic example of the modern day keeper as he likes to act as sweeper keeper and punch the ball away. Lloris' ability and style warranted the arm band for his country. The Frenchman has 64 capsfor his country since making his debut in 2008 and will be in line for many more.

A wiley old fox is our fifth keeper that comes in the form of 487 appearances for club, 158 appearances for his country, 5 La Ligas, 3 Champions' Leagues, 2 European Championships', 1 World Cup and its goes by the name of Iker Casillas. The Real Madrid man is the master of the trade. A one club man, Casillas started out at Real Madrid as young as 9, the 33 year old broke into the first team back in 1999 and continued to impress at the Santiago Bernabéu through good and bad times in Madrid. As captain for club and country, Iker Casillas' natural all round ability for the game has earned himself a tremendous reputation. As of late he has fallen out of sorts at the Bernabéu from the arrivals of David Lopez and World Cup wonderboy Keylor Navas but despite competition and his age, Iker Casillas remains one of the greatest keepers to grace the modern game.

My penultimate selection is the Manuel Neuer. Arguably the finest example of a modern day sweeper keeper. Neuer who was born in Gelsenkirchen and started his youth career for home club Schalke 04 in 1991, after progressing through the age groups, Neuer signed professional terms with Schalke in 2005 and went on to make 156 appearances for Die Knappen. As one of the hottest properties in Europe, Neuer attracted interest from Europe's elite clubs such as Manchester United. Despite avid rumours linking the 28 year old with a move to Old Trafford, Neuer made the £17.2 million south to Bavaria and Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. Despite some disgruntled supporters over his initial signing, Manuel Neuer became a firm fans favourite at the Allianz Arena and quickly cemented his place in the starting XI under Jupp Heynckes. Neuer debuted for his country in 2009 and has gone on to earn 56 caps since then, the Bayern Munich shot stopper is well known for his unique approach to play due to his quick reflexes and ability to read the game. His excellent shot stopping,commanding of his area, and accurate distribution has warranted 2 Bundesligas, 3 DFB-Pokals, 1 Champions' League, 1 World Cup and 1 Golden Glove.What a player.

My final nominee is the Italian Gianluigi Buffon. At a maturing age of 36, Buffon has 400 appearances under his belt for Juventus since 2001 after he appeared for Parma on 168 occasions. Buffon still holds the record for the most expensive transfer of £32.6 million to Juventus but is widely regarded as the one of the best goalkeepers of all time. Another keeper who captain for both club and country, Buffon holds another record of most appearances for the Italian national team. He was regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time by Pele with 1 World Cup, 7 Serie A titles, 1 Copa Italia and 1 UEFA Cup... you can see why. His character, discipline, organisation and ability make him the outstanding player we have all come to love.

So there we have it, my 7 for 7 you have your say below on who you will have as your starting keeper in our Pie Eaters Footie XI!