Inside Lane: Time has come for AVB to solve his No1 issue and stick with Lloris
Tottenham blogger Ben McAleer examines the ongoing battle between Brad Friedel and Hugo Lloris.
When it was announced that Hugo Lloris was to sign for Tottenham Hotspur on transfer deadline day, fans were understandably excited about his arrival.
After all, the France captain and national No1 is widely regarded as one of, if not the, top goalkeeper in the world.
With Brad Friedel now 41 years old, it was pivotal that head coach Andre Villas-Boas began to think of life beyond the American, whose contract expires at the end of the season – and the future had indeed been secured.
However, Friedel went on to put in an impressive performance during the 1-1 home draw with Norwich City.
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Understandably, AVB was questioned about Friedel’s position – whether he would hold onto the No1 jersey, or whether Lloris was about to replace him.
Villas-Boas opted for the latter. Cue numerous reports of the young goalkeeper demanding showdown talks with his new boss as a result.
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It was a turbulent time for the club, with Villas-Boas already under pressure following a poor start to the season.
Nevertheless, he stayed true to his word and, bar the 2-0 win over Aston Villa, has stuck with Friedel in his starting XI in the Premier League, with Lloris deputising in Europe and in the Capital One Cup outing at Norwich last week.
Fans have got used to taking reports of the turmoil with a pinch of salt – but it was a shock to hear the respected French football journalist Julien Laurens’ recent claim that Lloris was “shocked” to be on the bench against Chelsea, and was indeed “starting to get really impatient”.
Now large sections of the Spurs support feel compelled to agree with the reports – and many are sympathetic with Lloris, believing that he should indeed have secured the No1 spot already.
While Friedel has proven to be a shrewd acquisition, it has to be said that errors are beginning to creep into his game. He was at fault for Ben Watson’s solitary strike during the 1-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic at the weekend, having failed to deal with Shaun Maloney’s in-swinging corner.
Add the fact that he hasn’t kept a clean sheet this season, and it seems the 41-year-old may finally be starting to show his age.
The calls for Lloris to step in are beginning to become louder, especially as we look ahead to the trip to Manchester City on Sunday.
Against the rapid Citizens, it would be wise for Villas-Boas to hand the Frenchman the No1 spot for only the second time in the Premier League - especially with the need for a sweeper-keeper proving greater than some are willing to admit.
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