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Liverpool’s Reina- Man United’s van der Sar- Pompey’s James – let the 2008 voting begin!

Football FanCast columnist Mark Bryans commences his search into finding the outstanding players of 2008, by
looking for the best goalkeeper of the calendar year.


It is early January and therefore it is that time of year to heap praise on
those who made 2008 a memorable 12 months for football fans. Over the next few
days I will be arguing the cause for a number of candidates for each position
on the pitch, as well as attempting to find manager, unsung hero and goal of
the season.


These lists could easily become a parade of players from the perceived ‘top
4' clubs, so, wherever possible I have looked to include players from outside
those teams.

I want you to get involved and vote each day for the player you believe
deserves the award for their respective position, or leave a comment on who you
think should have made the list. It makes sense to start at the back, so today
we will be looking for the ‘Goalkeeper of the Year 2008.'


Jose Manuel REINA – Liverpool

The 2008 season saw Pepe Reina awarded his 3rd Premier League
Golden Glove as he kept 18 clean sheets in the 07/08 campaign. The ‘Golden
Glove' is awarded to the ‘keeper who keeps the most clean sheets in a Premier
League season. The Spaniard followed that up by winning the European
Championships with his country over the summer, although he mostly played
second fiddle to Iker Casillas.

He was an ever-present last season for Liverpool and despite being
remembered for some high profile blunders in the past it is clear that he is
one of the best shot-stoppers in the world. The latter half of the year saw him
play a key role in steering Liverpool to top-spot in the Premiership over


Joe HART – Manchester City

2008 saw the former Shrewsbury Town youngster become the official No.1 at
the City of Manchester Stadium, as well as being capped by England for the
first time. A string of impressive performances after Sven-Goran Eriksson
chose the youngster over Swede Andreas Isaksson saw Hart rise to

His performances between the sticks throughout 2008 make him a natural
nominee for the award of ‘Goalkeeper of the Year,' and despite this season
being a crushing disappoint thus far for all those involved with Manchester
City it is without doubt that no-one has laid any blame at the door of Joe
Hart. His England future remains bright as Fabio Capello handed him his debut
and has since called him up into further squads.


Edwin VAN DER SAR – Manchester United

At an age when even goalkeepers should be considering retirement, Edwin van
der Sar had an amazing 2008 which saw him win the Champions League for the 2nd
time. His decisive penalty save from Nicholas Anelka in the final shoot-out in
Moscow was fitting reward after a season of fine performances from the


His year went from strength to strength as he entered Euro 2008 with Premier
League and Champions League winners' medals. He may have been left deflated
after his country's impressive start failed to materialise into victory in the
tournament, but on a personal level he will have been very happy to be named in
the Euro 2008 Team of the Tournament. His performances have been impressive
since and he has been rewarded with a contract extension at Old Trafford and
will still be at Man Utd into his 40s.


David JAMES – Portsmouth

Despite quite a distinguished career and 45 England caps 2008 saw David
James win only his third club honour. He was a pivotal part of the Portsmouth
side which won the FA Cup in May, he also broke the record for consecutive
Premier League appearances for the second time in 2008, but he has since been
surpassed by Brad Friedel.

James also had an excellent year internationally as he was named in Fabio
Capello's first England team, his first start since 2005, and he has since
played every subsequent England game under Capello. Like Edwin van der Sar it
would seem that despite closing in on his 40th birthday James is
still impressing and maybe even improving.


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Article title: Liverpool’s Reina- Man United’s van der Sar- Pompey’s James – let the 2008 voting begin!

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