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CUDICINI: I want to be Number One at the Lane

PUBLISHED: 07:53 06 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:54 07 September 2010

CARLO Cudicini has not joined Tottenham to make up the goalkeeping numbers. The 35-year-old Italian, who ended a 10-year association with Chelsea when he moved to Spurs on a free transfer last week, is eager to wrestle the No.1 shirt from Heurelho Gomes.

CARLO Cudicini has not joined Tottenham to make up the goalkeeping numbers.

The 35-year-old Italian, who ended a 10-year association with Chelsea when he moved to Spurs on a free transfer last week, is eager to wrestle the No.1 shirt from Heurelho Gomes.

And Cudicini, forced to play second fiddle to Petr Cech at Stamford Bridge for the past five seasons, has seized his chance to impress Harry Redknapp with two solid displays against Stoke and Bolton in the absence of the injured Gomes.

And with the Brazilian still struggling with a groin injury and Redknapp reluctant to plunge young Ben Alnwick back into the spotlight, Cudicini has every chance of starting Sunday's north London against Arsenal at the Lane.

"We have three very good goalkeepers and we will battle it out every morning at training," Cudicini told Ham&High Sport.

"Gomes is a great goalkeeper and we are enjoying training together. It will be a fair competition and it is good for the team.

"I have not been given any guarantee about playing regularly. We will push each other and then, of course, who is best will play - it is the same at every club.

"Being 35, I can bring some experience and I want to push the club forward. I have signed for 18 months and I hope to be playing more than I was at Chelsea. But whoever plays will have the support of the other guy."

Cudicini admits that Spurs are in a relegation battle but feels the Lilywhites have the quality and the character to get themselves out of it. "At the moment it is not the best situation," he said.

"Every point is big because we need to climb up the table. We have a difficult game against Arsenal and we definitely cannot afford to relax.

"Yes, the quality is here and the team has great players with great qualities. We showed it against Stoke and it was good for the confidence of the team.

"Football is crazy even though you have great players. Sometimes, you find yourself in a position where no-one wants to be. But everyone is aware of that and I'm sure we will be out of this situation soon."

Cudicini revealed being involved in a relegation struggle is not something new to him, despite his glory days at the Bridge.

"I was in a relegation with Castel Di Sangro so I know what I am talking about," he said.

"I am happy with the move to Tottenham. Of course, it is a big challenge where we are at the moment.

"I don't regret anything - I just want to look forward. Ten years at Chelsea is a lot but there is always a time when you feel it is time to move. This is the right time and I had a chance to join a great club like Spurs."

The Italian stopper has played under some top managers in Jose Mourinho and Big Phil Scholari but admits he is just getting to know his new boss Redknapp.

"Yes, I have played for several managers who were big characters," he said. "But it is only my second week, I need some more time to know Harry.

"Of course, I've known about him. He's a great manager. What he did at Portsmouth has been fantastic and what he is doing here at Spurs, and trying to do here, is great. I always liked to play at White Hart Lane. It is a great stadium and a great atmosphere.

"It is a great place to play and I'm really looking forward to being on the other side now."

Cudicini has had several good luck messages from his former Chelsea team-mates but it will be nothing like the goodwill he will receive from the Spurs faithful if he can keep a clean sheet in Sunday's derby.

pat.mooney@hamhigh.co.uk


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