We feared Cudicini wouldn't walk again, says Spurs keeper coach
TOTTENHAM goalkeeping coach Tony Parks has hailed Carlo Cudicini's return to football as 'miraculous' after the Italian was given a new one-year contract. Cudicini, who swapped Chelsea for Spurs in January 2009, broke both of his wrists...
By Ben Pearce
TOTTENHAM goalkeeping coach Tony Parks has hailed Carlo Cudicini's return to football as 'miraculous' after the Italian was given a new one-year contract.
Cudicini, who swapped Chelsea for Spurs in January 2009, broke both of his wrists and damaged his pelvis in a serious motorcycle accident in November.
At the time the 36-year-old's injuries were described as "potentially life-changing". But, six months later, he is back in full training with Parks as he steps up his preparation for the 2010/2011 campaign.
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"It shows that there's a lot of mutual respect between Carlo and the club," said Parks. "I think they've been very impressed with his mental strength, professionalism and the desire that he's shown in coming back from such a serious accident.
"He's the most professional player I've ever had the pleasure of working with, and he's a fantastic example to all of the young players at the club - not just the goalkeepers.
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"People say 'how can you say that when he was riding a motorbike?' but the accident wasn't his fault. He's a very responsible guy and you can be injured just as badly in a car crash. He just comes from a different culture, where they ride away from training on motorbikes and go skiing during their winter breaks.
"I was away when he had his accident but I went to see him as soon as I got back, and the main concern was whether he would walk again, let alone whether he'd be able to carry on with any sort of football career.
"His recovery is miraculous. I've been working with him on the training pitch every day for the last five weeks and it's amazing. He's making all kinds of saves and holding onto the balls while I'm really pinging them at him.
"He's always been a superb goalkeeper and, for three or four years at Chelsea, he was probably the best in the league. For him to be doing what he's doing at the age of 36 just shows what kind of a player he is. He's been great with [Heurelho] Gomes since he arrived. He pushed Gomes and it was a really healthy, friendly competition between the two of them before the accident."
Parks also admits that he was thrilled to see Gomes included in Brazil's 23-man World Cup squad - having been overlooked for a year.
"I know he was fairly pessimistic about his chances," Parks revealed. "I don't know the ins and outs of the Brazil set-up but he kept missing out. I seem to remember that they were taking some squads with only two keepers, and the decisions didn't seem to be based on form.
"The guy from Roma, Doni, kept getting in the squad when he wasn't even getting in the Roma team. We were all surprised that Gomes wasn't getting picked for his country.
"I remember chatting out on the training pitch with Carlo and he said 'you can't call yourself a world-class player until you've played in England', and I think Gomes has been the best keeper in the Premier League this season. It's a shame he's not English!