David de Gea’s praises have been widely sung since he kept Tottenham at bay to help Manchester United secure a crucial 1-0 victory at Wembley.
Harry Kane would have had a hat-trick on another day, but the Spaniard’s superb second-half display kept United’s clean sheet intact.
De Gea made more saves against Spurs (11) than any goalkeeper has in a single Premier League game this season – three fewer than his 2017/18 record of 14 away to Arsenal.
The 28-year-old clearly has a penchant for making saves with his feet – making multiple stops with his second pair of hands – but is he top dog when it comes to the unorthodox save style?
Well, we have crunched the numbers to bring you the Premier League’s top 10 goalkeepers ranked by total saves with their feet from the start of the 2017/18 season.*
To give you a sense of how often these goalkeepers use their feet to make a stop, we’ve also included the % of their total saves made with them.
=8. Alex McCarthy (13)
Total saves: 112
% with feet: 11.6
The Englishman struggled for game time at Crystal Palace but has become a regular at Southampton.
Angus Gunn is waiting in the wings – and impressed on his debut – but Ralph Hassenhuttl restored McCarthy for the recent win against Leicester.
=8. Jack Butland (13)
Total saves: 142
% with feet: 9.1
The 25-year-old failed to secure a move away from Stoke in the summer and is currently plying his trade in the Championship.
But he still makes it onto our list, having been a very busy boy as the Potters battled against the drop last term.
=8. Mat Ryan (13)
Total saves: 183
% with feet: 7.1
The Australia international has not had a straightforward route to elite level, but is becoming a firm fans’ favourite at Brighton.
7. Jordan Pickford (14)
Total saves: 182
% with feet: 7.6
England’s number one has been widely criticised for some shaky displays after dropping an absolute clanger in the Merseyside derby.
Still praised for his distribution, it’s no surprise to see Pickford is handy with his feet – if not always the case for his (very short) arms.
=5. Wayne Hennessey (15)
Total saves: 128
% with feet: 11.7
The Crystal Palace goalkeeper has a fight on his hands if he is going to retain the number one jersey ahead of Vicente Guaita.
11.7% of the Welshman’s saves have come via his feet.
=5. Jonas Lössl (15)
Total saves: 154
% with feet: 9.7
Huddersfield’s goal is peppered with shots week in, week out.
The Dane has made 154 saves since the Terriers were promoted to the top flight but, similar to the aforementioned Butland, his efforts could be in vain as David Wagner’s side look doomed at the bottom of the table.
4. Joe Hart (17)
Total saves: 128
% with feet: 13.2
The former England international has endured something of a fall from grace since leaving Manchester City.
Hart’s place at Burnley is now in doubt but he has made a league-high total of 12 saves with his feet this season – not so bad with his other limbs after all, hey Pep?
3. David de Gea (23)
Total saves: 194
% with feet: 11.8
👐 11 saves
✔️ 1 clean sheet
It wasn’t a bad afternoon’s work for David De Gea.👇https://t.co/Md5Uw5lo4n
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 13, 2019
Only Hart (12) has made more saves with his feet than De Gea (11) this term.
The Spaniard is in fine form but is far from the only goalkeeper who is comfortable using ‘unorthodox’ body parts to keep efforts out of his goal.
In fact, of all goalkeepers to make at least 10 saves since the start of last season, De Gea’s 11.8% is the 11th-largest proportion of total saves made with the feet – not as high as his reputation would suggest.
=1. Ben Foster (24)
Total saves: 165
% with feet: 14.5
I see a lot of people saying all De Gea saves were straight at him, please factor in that the guy has some mad sense to know where to be at just the right time, you can’t teach that. Proper goally 👏
— Ben Foster (@BenFoster) January 13, 2019
The Watford shot-stopper jumped to De Gea’s defence after Spurs were criticised for their finishing rather than the Spaniard being praised for his positioning – and Foster makes a higher proportion of saves with his feet than anyone else on our list.
It takes one to know one.
=1. Asmir Begovic (24)
Total saves: 167
% with feet: 14.3
The Bosnian was binned off by Chelsea earlier in his career but has provided a safe pair of hands – and feet – for Bournemouth.
Given Begovic’s 6’5″ frame, it’s not always easy to get down fast.
Data correct as of 14/01/2019.*