Tottenham have completed the free transfer signing of former England international Joe Hart this week, the goalkeeper signing a two-year deal in north London after leaving Burnley.
Hart is amongst the most experienced and successful shot-stoppers in English football at present after winning two Premier League titles at Manchester City, though his career has nosedived in spectacular fashion since Pep Guardiola’s decision to force him out at the Etihad.
From England number one to perennial benchwarmer, disappointing spells at Torino, West Ham and Burnley have followed, whilst his latest role as Hugo Lloris’ cheerleader at Spurs is likely to do little to bring him back to the forefront of public consciousness.
Hart’s fall from grace means it’s often easy to forget his notable achievements in the Premier League and we’ve decided to look at how the 33-year-old compares to some of England’s best goalkeepers of the modern era.
Here are the five English goalkeepers with the most clean sheets in Premier League history:
Ben Foster – 88
Ben Foster may not quite have reached the heights once expected by Sir Alex Ferguson, the young goalkeeper having been tipped to be Manchester United and England’s number one during his early years at Old Trafford, but he has forged a long and successful career at the highest level.
Foster has been a firm fans’ favourite at a succession of Premier League clubs, winning Player of the Season accolades at Watford, Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion throughout his career.
Silverware success has come in the form of three League Cup triumphs – with Foster twice named as Man of the Match in Wembley finals – whilst his performances have also been rewarded with eight senior caps for England.
Foster’s finest form has arguably come in recent seasons despite turning 37 earlier this year, the veteran having kept 88 clean sheets in 364 Premier League appearances.
Joe Hart – 127
Joe Hart sits fourth amongst the Premier League’s English goalkeepers in terms of clean sheets, the now Spurs shot-stopper having kept more than a century of shut-outs throughout his time in the top flight.
Hart currently sits 11th on the all-time rankings and is now just one behind Peter Schmeichel with 127 Premier League clean sheets to date, a number he will hope to increase should he be handed an opportunity in north London.
The 33-year-old’s career has seen him win 75 caps for England during a lengthy spell as first-choice for the Three Lions, whilst he also became the first goalkeeper in history to win four Premier League Golden Glove awards – an all-time record since equalled by Petr Cech.
Joe Hart was the first goalkeeper to win four Premier League Golden Glove awards since it was introduced in 2004-05:
2010-11: 18 clean sheets
2011-12: 17 clean sheets
2012-13: 18 clean sheets
2014-15: 14 clean sheets
Petr Čech joined him on four in 2015-16. ? https://t.co/enU9vZyppf
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 18, 2020
Recency bias has not been kind to Hart who rarely seems to be remembered for his peak performances, but there’s no disputing he was an excellent goalkeeper at his finest and part of a strong spine which helped deliver Manchester City their first two Premier League titles.
Nigel Martyn – 137
Sitting ten clean sheets ahead of Hart is former Leeds and Everton number one Nigel Martyn, perhaps an underrated and under-appreciated player when reflecting back on the Premier League’s most reliable goalkeepers.
Martyn had twice featured in the Premier League for Crystal Palace before a move to Leeds United, where he formed a solid last line of defence for a club who became one of the division’s finest throughout the late nineties and early 2000’s.
The experienced England international was named in the PFA Team of the Year in three consecutive seasons across the turn of the millennium, Martyn helping Leeds become regulars in European competition before later spending three years at Everton and winning the club’s Player of the Year award.
He kept 137 clean sheets in 372 appearances and earned 23 caps for England, a number of international appearances that would likely have been much greater were it not for the presence of the next man on this list.
David Seaman – 141
Arsenal secured the signing of David Seaman for a British record £1.3m for a goalkeeper in 1990, the long-serving England number one proving an astute piece of business during a hugely successful career in north London.
Seaman was a commanding presence behind a Gunners defence who became famed for their unforgiving displays, an iconic backline who became the bedrock of the George Graham era before playing a vital role in the early successes of Arsene Wenger’s dynasty.
Seaman kept 141 clean sheets in the Premier League during a career that saw him win nine major honours with Arsenal, winning domestic doubles in both 1998 and 2002 during a trophy-laden period.
No goalkeeper kept more clean sheets throughout the first decade of the rebranded Premier League, Seaman – capped 75 times for the Three Lions – the most reliable English goalkeeper of the modern era.
David James – 169
No English goalkeeper has ever kept more Premier League clean sheets than David James, a shot-stopper who often polarised opinion and will be remembered as much for his errors as his excellence.
Fourth for all-time appearances in the Premier League with 572, James enjoyed a lengthy career at the highest level that included spells at Watford, Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham, Manchester City and Portsmouth, winning both domestic cups and earning 53 caps for England.
High-profile blunders earned the England international the rather unwanted moniker of ‘Calamity James’, but he was a goalkeeper of elite athleticism and equally capable of producing jaw-dropping saves as he was ball-dropping clangers.
Only former Chelsea and Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech can better James’ record of 169 clean sheets amongst all goalkeepers in the Premier League era.