The modern goalkeeper is one of the most mentally demanding positions on the football pitch.

One mistake often leads to disaster, and with an emphasis on goalkeeper involvement in possession and while sweeping, the opportunity to make errors has never been higher. It’s a position that demands maturity.

Which makes the emergence of 18-year-old Guillaume Restes even more astonishing.

In Restes, Ligue 1 side Toulouse has uncovered a potential superstar in the making. And one of the most exciting young goalkeepers in world football.

Despite only making his senior debut for Toulouse at the start of the 2023/2024 season, top teams have already begun to take notice. Interest in the young man’s talents will undoubtedly continue to escalate.

Despite the persistent speculation, Guillaume Restes continues to impress. 

Restes is an extremely athletic player. This is a goalkeeper that very effectively covers ground and makes life difficult for opposition forwards. He’s quick to get down to low, drilled efforts, and can quickly recover to a strong starting position for follow-up attempts.

Standing at “just” 6’1 – not noticeably tall for a goalkeeper – this agility essentially nullifies any shot-stopping disadvantage Restes might suffer for being “on the shorter side” for a man in his position.

As a general shot-stopper, Restes has very strong hands and wrists – often an undervalued trait in young goalkeepers. If a shot needs parrying, he makes sure to send it high and wide, out of the danger area.

Restes – in his debut season – is performing as expected when it comes to keeping the ball out of his net, despite facing more shots than most keepers in Ligue 1. A promising start for the young man. (Stats courtesy of fbref)

While not yet fully mastering the art of sweeping, Restes is still capable of bolting off of his line to shut down attacking moves and pressure opposition forwards. 

But if the young keeper were simply a fabulous physical shot-stopper, we wouldn’t be talking about him. No, in the modern game, the goalkeeper must be much more.

While cat-like reflexes and agility may be the bulk of the highlight reel, Restes has the building blocks to become a complete modern goalkeeper with the right development.

He’s no Ederson (who is?), but Restes is comfortable enough with the ball at his feet. He’s got the necessary range of passing to be able to function as part of a team’s build-up, and is quick to reposition and make himself available for teammates. There is no hiding in Restes, he welcomes the pressure and responsibility.

On that, Restes often doesn’t appear entirely comfortable controlling the ball on his first touch, which can lead to the occasional heart-stopping moment where he finds himself on the brink of being closed down. More often than not, though, he’s able to play his way out of trouble. It’s a great testament to the young man’s maturity. A level of composure beyond his 18 years of age.

That maturity manifests itself in many areas of his game. He communicates clearly and organises his defence. He knows when to slow the game down, and when to look for a fast counter. And while some may not appreciate this facet of the game, he’s even developed a half-decent grasp of “the dark arts”. 

Playing for a side battling at the lower end of the standings has undoubtedly been crucial for Restes and his development. It’s a trial by fire at Toulouse, who face more shots per game than the vast majority of teams in Ligue 1. If he can shine in this environment, in his first season in the top flight, he can certainly shine at a higher level in the future.

It’s fair to say that the sky is the limit for Guillaume Restes – who is already a regular feature for the French U21 side and has been tipped for a senior call-up for several weeks already. 

Restes has featured for France at U17, U18, and U21 level (Image courtesy of L’equipe)

The impressive Mike Maignan currently resides between the posts for France, with Brice Samba and Alphonse Areola deputising. With Maignan’s continued injury struggles, and the other options potentially on the decline, there is a clear pathway to the #1 jersey if Restes develops as well as many predict that he will.

For now, Toulouse will likely be bracing themselves for interest in Restes this coming Summer. Most recently, Bayern Munich have reportedly identified the youngster as a potential long-term replacement for the legendary Manuel Neuer.

And that should tell you exactly just how highly rated Guillaume Restes is among the top clubs in world football.