“He just couldn’t handle this aerial bombardment that was going on. He was in a state of turmoil.” “I actually remember Gomes taking the knee and throwing the ball out, a tear in his eye” this is former Spurs striker Peter Crouch recounting his experience of our former keeper Heurelho Gomes and his reaction to Rory Delap and his long throws. The man was allegedly forced to a tears because of the frustration of trying to deal with a Stoke player that could throw a ball really hard, and really fast. The story can obviously never be separated neatly into fact or fiction but the fact that it’s believable tells us all we need to know about Heurelho Gomes.
Gomes may seem like a ghost of clangers-past for Spurs fans but the man was actually at Spurs at the same time as Hugo Lloris and this is important to remember when you consider just how far the position of goalkeeper at Spurs has come. From a spot filled with players who were good on their day but routinely let us down in big games (think Robinson, Keller, Cudicini and Gomes, of course) Hugo really has changed that and we would do well as a fan-base to not forget what a great servant he’s been for us. The idea of listing every single good performance put in by Hugo would be a pointless act because in truth, no one remembers the one-hundred good performances a player has, they only remember the one time they messed it all up. Hugo has made mistakes, absolute shockers to be fair, but what he brings to the club is more than just that of a world-class goalkeeper.
When Hugo joined Spurs from Lyon his aim was to prove himself in one of Europe’s top leagues and then move on to a bigger club, there’s no denying that this was him aim, but Hugo stayed. In an era when many of Tottenham’s best and would-be-world-class jumped ship at the first sight of a bumper-contract and guaranteed Champions League football isn’t it worth extending an olive branch to a man who has done the same for our club? Like most good things that have happened at Spurs in the past few years Pochettino is the reason for this; Hugo had mentioned that at the end of the Sherwood reign he was looking to leave Spurs but Pochettino managed to convince him to stay and put pen-to-paper on a five year deal in 2014. In that time much like Tottenham, Lloris has grown from a young and talented keeper to one of the best in his position in the Premier League, much like Spurs he has grown into a respected and feared opponent.
There was a period when Lloris could have easily gone to any number of Europe’s top teams and become a solid number one choice there but he didn’t, he stayed at Spurs and battled through with back-fours that contained Steven Caulker and Kyle Naughton. Loyalty to clubs is lamented by football fans as a thing of the past yet with Lloris Spurs genuinely have that, and we should not let a string of below-average performances cloud our judgement on a man who has been a great servant and credit to our club. There is no denying that 2018 has been a ‘patchy’ year to put it lightly; a man once seen as a model pro being caught drink-driving is never a good look but to turn our back on one of the most talented keepers to ever play between our sticks is just absurd.
There is the argument that we should start thinking about his replacement due to his age, at thirty-two Hugo still has a few good seasons in him but with Levy never willing to break the bank for an already formed superstar it is worth glancing towards the future but for the time being Hugo in undoubtedly the best keeper at Tottenham. Fans have floated the idea that Gazzaniga should start over Hugo and become our new number one but Gazzaniga has really yet to have been tested, he may have a 100% win ratio for Spurs but with most of them coming in the early rounds of cup competitions the argument for Gazzaniga as number one is weak at best.
Lloris has stuck by Spurs through multiple rough-patches, through being managed by Tim Sherwood and genuinely going into games with a team that featured Andros Townsend and Younes Kaboul, it’s safe to say Hugo Lloris has genuinely ‘earnt his Spurs’ and we as a fan-base should not turn on a player suffering in his personal life and on the pitch but stick by one of the best servants our club has had in the Premier League era.
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