Date of birth
While Michael McGovern isn’t the first choice goalkeeper at Norwich City, his professionalism and attitude is integral to the squad off the pitch.
Wales is the only country in the United Kingdom that McGovern hasn’t stayed in during his footballing career, highlighting the breadth of experience he’s acquired.
Chances few and far between
2001 - 2008: If you’re going to start your senior career in Scotland, you could do a lot worse than Celtic! McGovern signs for the Bhoys in 2001 after a youth career at hometown club Enniskillen Town United in Northern Ireland. If you’re going to be named in the first-team squad for the first time, you do a lot worse than against Barcelona at the Nou Camp! Unfortunately, McGovern fails to make an appearance for Celtic, with Artur Boruc at the peak of his powers.
However, while on the books with the Scottish giants, McGovern does get a useful loan move to Stanraer and a less fruitful one to St Johnstone. Dundee United is the next destination, this time a permanent transfer, but once again McGovern isn’t given a chance to show what he’s made of.
Time to shine
2009 - 2011: McGovern moves to Ross County for the 2009-10 season, where he enjoys a successful campaign of first-team football, a Scottish Cup Final, and makes his debut for Northern Ireland’s senior international team. The following season sees McGovern win the Scottish Challenge Cup with County, in no small part thanks to his two penalty shootout saves in the semi-finals.
2011 - 2014: After making a name for himself as a comfortable first-choice goalkeeper at Ross County, McGovern moves to Falkirk in time for the 2011-12 season, where he once again wins the Scottish Challenge Cup. That’s not all, as the individual accolades begin to flow in as well. A top season for McGovern sees him awarded both the Players’ Player of the Year Award and the Fans’ Player of the Year Award in his debut campaign, as well as a place in the Scottish PFA’s First Division Team of the Year and a nomination for its Player of the Year award.
McGovern shows no signs of slowing down going into the 2012-13 season, as he once again wins the Players’ Player of the Year Award. In a spell that just keeps getting better, McGovern is then given the captain’s armband and, before saying goodbye to Falkirk, is named in the Championship Team of the Year for 2013-14.
2014 - 2016: A return to the Premiership follows. McGovern joins Hamilton Academical in June 2014, keeping a clean sheet in their first win at - who would have thunk it - Celtic Park in 76 years. Continuing to go from strength to strength, McGovern casually goes 437 minutes without conceding a goal during September and October in 2014 - a club record.
In January 2015, a certain Alex Neil, who had been at the Hamilton helm, becomes Norwich City manager, his successor Martin Canning awarding McGovern the captaincy. All this puts the ‘McGoverner’ back on the Northern Ireland radar as he becomes the country’s first-choice ‘keeper to help them qualify for Euro 2016, a tournament which includes a 1-0 win against Germany in the group stages to head through to the round of 16.
The Norwich City years
2016 - Present: Neil’s City snap McGovern up following his impressive Euro 2016 exploits for Northern Ireland. After coming on for John Ruddy in his debut for the Canaries, McGovern goes on to play 20 games in yellow and green during the 2016-17 Championship campaign, but spends the next two seasons featuring predominantly in cup competitions thanks to the form of Angus Gunn and Tim Krul. In 2019-20, with Krul injured, McGovern is called into action to replace the subsequently injured Ralf Fahrmann for a penalty against Crystal Palace. He also features in City’s 4-2 FA Cup third round win at Preston North End.