It was a major swoop for Tottenham Hotspur when they announced the signing of Hugo Lloris on deadline day. Remember, this is a goalkeeper who has been labelled one of the game’s best shot-stoppers, so for Spurs to have convinced him to move to White Hart Lane is a real coup.
However, the following day, current number one Brad Friedel enjoyed a superb performance in between the Spurs sticks as they struggled at home to a 1-1 draw with Norwich City. The American was sensational in keeping the Canaries at bay and if it wasn’t for him; the travelling side would’ve walked away with all three points.
In the post-match press conference, head coach Andre Villas-Boas insinuated that Friedel would be keeping his place in between the sticks for the upcoming encounter against Reading, leaving many wondering why Lloris was signed in the first place. Earlier this week, France boss Didier Deschamps revealed his concern that Lloris wasn’t to be guaranteed first-team football, further heightening the pressure on the 34-year-old.
The France captain recently confirmed that he isn’t bothered by Villas-Boas’ comments regarding the number one spot at White Hart Lane, insisting he is focused on the national team’s upcoming games against Finland and Belarus. Whether he is tip-toeing his way around the young tactician’s comments remains to be seen, but the Spurs boss is right to not throw him into the deep end, ala David De Gea and Manchester United last season.
France boss Didier Deschamps revealed his concern that Lloris wasn’t to be guaranteed first-team football
The Spaniard arrived at Old Trafford last summer and made a series of high-profile errors, ones that the media and fans were too quick to pick up on. It could’ve ended De Gea’s United career before it had really begun but, fortunately for the former Atletico Madrid ace, he had the full backing of manager Sir Alex Ferguson, regardless of the persistence of Anders Lindegaard from time-to-time.
De Gea came through that period stronger and fully established himself as the Premier League’s better ‘keepers. However, he had the patience and backing of his manager and the fans behind him. While Lloris is more experienced than his Spanish counterpart, is he likely to have the same luxury at White Hart Lane?
While the former Olympique Lyonnais star is likely to receive the unequivocal support of Villas-Boas, will he receive the same from the fans? Many are already jumping on the back of the 34-year-old and the players after a disappointing start to the campaign, where Spurs have picked up just two points from their opening three games.
Should Lloris endure a nightmare afternoon on his debut in the Premier League, how quickly will the media and such jump on his back and point out each individual mistake? The youngster would get crucified in today’s media, especially with a number of the red tops hopeful Villas-Boas will fail before he’s given the chance to succeed.
While Lloris is more experienced than his Spanish counterpart, is he likely to have the same luxury at White Hart Lane?
On top of that, following Friedel’s man of the match performance against Norwich, what is Villas-Boas expected to say of the future of his number one? Had he claimed that he would drop ‘Uncle Brad’, as Sebastien Bassong excellently named him, the media would have jumped all over him again, asking how he could drop the 41-year-old after such a fine performance. It was always a lose-lose situation for the Spurs boss and imagine what it would do to the dressing room and Friedel’s confidence had he confirmed he was to be dropped after such an excellent display?
From a Spurs perspective, he is right to persist with Friedel. Many have been left questioning why the club purchased Lloris in the first place, obviously forgetting that the American is 41-years-old. This season is likely to be his last and with Carlo Cudicini and Heurelho Gomes expected to depart sooner rather than later, the need for a long-term replacement has been required as early as his arrival last summer.
Easing Lloris into his new surroundings will benefit Spurs in the long-run, especially with the Premier League a stereotypically tougher league than Le Championat. Granted, goalkeepers have come in and adjusted straight away, Petr Cech and Edwin van der Sar arrived from France and Italy and performed admirably for both Chelsea and Fulham almost instantaneously, respectively.
However, both wouldn’t have been under similar levels of pressure following their respective 2004 and 2001 arrivals. Friedel, earlier in the summer, admitted he would be prepared to step aside for a younger goalkeeper to replace him at White Hart Lane, all but confirming his standing 307 consecutive game playing record will come to an inevitable end this season.
While Lloris may still have to wait some time to usurp the American as Spurs’ number one, it will be a good thing for both the club and player in the long run.
More great Tottenham Hotspur articles
Click here for more stories on Football and Sport
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook