By Ben Bloom
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Tottenham blogger Ben Bloom discusses Spurs’ goalkeepers as Brad Friedel prepares to replace Hugo Lloris against Lyon tonight.
After a period of uncertainty at the start of the season, it looks like Hugo Lloris may be set for No1 status at Spurs for years to come – or at least until he gets fed up with a lack of Champions League action, but let’s not dwell on that!
The odd situation of a world-class £12million France captain warming the White Hart Lane bench had briefly threatened to turn a bit nasty. France manager Didier Deschamps continually waded into the debate and the keeper himself warned he could give no assurances over his future if not selected.
While the circumstances were far from identical, the decision to eventually swap Brad Friedel for Lloris had parallels with Harry Redknapp’s dismissal and Andre Villas-Boas’s arrival.
Redknapp, with help from Friedel, had overseen Spurs’ most successful period in Premier League history. But, while he had undoubtedly done a brilliant job, tough decisions were taken to continue the progress and build for the future.
Similarly, Friedel is 41. A stunning keeper at his peak, he did a great job last season but the idea of playing him ahead of a 26-year-old at the height of his powers made little sense. Football has little place for sentiment and Villas-Boas made the tough call to end Friedel’s remarkable run of 310 consecutive Premier League games in October. Lloris has not looked back since.
Originally forced to make do with being deployed in cup competitions, Lloris has well and truly cemented his place between the sticks now. His command of the penalty area, his speed at coming off the line and willingness to take responsibility for incoming balls are a delight to see.
Now Spurs face his former club Lyon in the Europa League, but Villas-Boas has already stated that Lloris will be rested to allow Friedel to start – and quite rightly so. The American is a top-class performer, a model professional and he deserves his chance. Tottenham fans were pleased when he was given a contract extension and I do not want any repeat of the embarrassing treatment of Heurelho Gomes over the past few years.
However, there is no doubting Lloris’ position, and having one of the best goalkeepers in the world – and one with a long career ahead of him – is immensely reassuring. There is no need to worry about that position for a while – provided we can keep hold of him, of course.
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