With the talk of a new goalkeeper dominating the Northampton Town headlines recently, I thought it would be a good idea to look back at those who have played between the sticks for the Cobblers.
The most interesting goalkeeper I found was 28 year old Ron-Robert Zieler, who signed for VfB Stuttgart this summer from former Premier League champions Leicester City. Many Northampton fans won’t remember Zieler, as he only made 2 appearances for the Cobblers. Zieler began his professional career at Manchester United where he would fail to make a single appearance for the club. The only mention of the German on a team sheet was on the 23rd of September 2008 where he would be named among the substitutes in a 3-1 League Cup win over Middlesbrough.
On the 28th of November 2008, Zieler would be sent out on loan to Northampton Town until the new year as a backup for Chris Dunn as Frank Fielding’s loan was expiring. The loan was then extended several times, eventually running out in late February of 2009. Zieler would be handed his first taste of professional football in a 2-0 loss to Walsall on the 21st of February. He would then play in a 1-1 draw away to Brighton & Hove Albion just three days later. These were the only two games Zieler would play for an English club for seven years as he left Manchester United in April 2010 to join Hannover 96 after a successful trial period. After a run of good performances for Hannover 96 II he would be promoted to the first team and went on to make 221 appearances for the German club.
One highlight from Ron-Robert Zieler’s career has to be the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Zieler was named in the official squad for the tournament alongside Manuel Neuer and Roman Weidenfeller. Despite being a back-up for the side, he can claim that he has a World Cup winners medal as Germany would go on to win the tournament for the fourth time. Despite this, Zieler was left out of the 23 man squad for EURO 2016, but this didn’t stop him from making his own progression. On the 3rd of June 2016, Zieler would sign for Leicester City for an undisclosed fee. Zieler stated that he joined for the opportunity to play Champions League football and he went on to make 11 appearances including a Champions League match. Unfortunately for the German, Leicester didn’t see Zieler in their plans for the squad and he was sold to VfB Stuttgart in July 2017.
After looking back at the career of Ron-Robert Zieler, it’s clear to see that even if one club doesn’t see you in their plans for the future, you can turn your career around with a few experiences of first team football. Zieler will be fighting for a place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup squad and he will hoping that the move back to Germany will give him time to prove his worth once again.