Gary Neville: Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois will overtake Neuer as best in the world

Gary Neville believes that Courtois will be better than the Bayern Munich stopper eventually.

There is no doubt that the Premier League is currently a hotbed for goalkeeping talent.

Manchester United have David De Gea, Tottenham have Hugo Lloris. Even the benched keepers at some clubs are world class. Willy Caballero, Petr Cech and David Ospina spring to mind.

But perhaps the best of them all is Chelsea stopper Thibaut Courtois. After three years on loan at Atletico Madrid he returned to Chelsea this summer as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

Of course, for now, he is not the best.

That position undoubtedly belongs to Bayern Munich stopper Manuel Neuer. The World Cup winner has been so impressive in 2014 that he is the main contender to Cristiano Ronaldo for this years Ballon d'Or.

But one football expert believes that Courtois will one day overcome Neuer.

Manchester United legend Gary Neville is a massive fan of the Belgian stopper - especially his towering presence in the box from set-pieces.

Writing in his Telegraph column this week he said:

"Courtois has the talent to become the best goalkeeper in the world in the next 12 to 18 months. I believe he will go past Neuer. The player of the season so far, for me, is not Sergio Agüero but Chelsea’s new No1, who has brought a smile to my face. And not many goalkeepers make me smile.

"In the Premier League, the ultimate test of physicality, it was almost a hallelujah moment to see how he dealt with crosses and set-pieces. My stance when a ball travels through the air into the box is that there has to be an excellent reason why it does not end up belonging to the keeper.

"Watch Courtois’ starting positions when the ball is crossed. As he steps out he has already anticipated where the crosser is aiming it and is standing there already when it arrives. It is a fantastic ability. I will always argue for catching over punching and Courtois destroys the myth that punching is always a better option."

His next step on that journey will be stopping Sunderland this evening.

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch