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Spurs Legends

Former Spurs Manager: Keith Burkinshaw



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    Post by vis on Mon Oct 21 2013, 06:33

    Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris happy to take risks when the reward is attacking football
    Spurs' No1 says his cavalier approach to protecting his area has always been a part of his game, and it is encouraged by his manager in the pursuit of counter-attacking excellence

    “Since my professional debut I’ve always had a risky game,” says Hugo Lloris, the most dynamic, decisive and - at times - daredevil goalkeeper in the Premier League. “I always think the goalkeeper has to be the chief of the box, it’s his area and he has to defend it.”

    Except that ‘area’ at Tottenham Hotspur – with a high defensive line and a desire to always play in the opposition’s half - often extends way beyond the penalty box. The lightning-quick Lloris can frequently be seen hurtling out to intercept with the Spurs defenders knowing one thing is certain: if the ball is there, the goalkeeper is coming for it.

    Lloris made that debut aged just 18, for his hometown club Nice. He had - unsurprisingly given his speed and footwork - dabbled with the notion of becoming a striker rather than a stopper.

    “When you are young you are fascinated only by defending goals or scoring goals, so I was a striker and goalkeeper,” recalls Lloris, who was also a promising tennis player.

    He was also fascinated by the Premier League. His early hero was Eric Cantona, although the young Hugo increasingly found himself drawn to another Manchester United player: goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel. “He was unbelievable,” Lloris says. “He had a big presence in the box.”

    There were other keepers he admired and all of them - Fabien Barthez, Iker Casillas, Gianluigi Buffon - had personality and presence, as well as ability. They are, Lloris says, vital characteristics for a goalkeeper. “It’s important to have personality and be respected in your box and in your life.”

    That respect is evident at Spurs where Lloris is now firmly established as the club’s first-choice, with Brad Friedel deputising in cup competitions. It seems a long time ago that Lloris’s £12 million move from Lyon was being questioned back in France as he was not automatically installed as No 1 at Spurs. Lloris, after all, is his country’s captain with 50 caps.

    Lloris, now 26, has previously admitted to being hurt at his treatment, although he now accepts that manager Andre Villas-Boas was simply being scrupulously fair with Friedel.

    “Honestly I never had doubts about the decision,” he says. “I think the manager had his idea last season and he has another idea today. Football is always changing and improving. The good thing is that contact with Brad has been good since the beginning. We try to go together in the same way, Brad, me, [Heurelho] Gomes and all the goalkeepers. We try to put the No 1 in the best position to play.”

    Lloris turned down the opportunity to join Spurs - and AC Milan - in 2008 and stayed at Lyon to play 40 times in the Champions League. Returning to the competition is an immediate goal.

    “I’ve always had a competitive spirit,” Lloris explains. “When you say a goalkeeper has to be mad, you can have your personality off the pitch but if you have the competitive spirit, then you come on the pitch only to win.”

    Lloris is undoubtedly suited to Spurs’ style under Villas-Boas and is encouraged to be the ultimate sweeper-keeper by the head coach.

    “We have a philosophy which helps us to control the game,” Lloris says. “We want to have possession of the ball and for that we try to play very high and to keep the ball in the opponents’ half.

    “Sometimes you need to take some risks but in the course of a season maybe you can lose one, two or three games because of counter-attacks but it’s a good way for us to play because we have the players to play that system. The manager has this philosophy and Tottenham has for a long time had the philosophy of trying to play well.”

    On Sunday, Spurs travel to Aston Villa – the team against whom Lloris made his league debut last October – desperate to bounce back after the traumatic 3-0 home defeat against West Ham United, a result that all the more curious given their record of nine clean sheets in their previous 11 matches.

    “Maybe it was an accident but now we are aware,” Lloris says. “Since the beginning of the season we have played a good game, with a lot of short passes and offensive football. We’ve created a lot of scoring opportunities but against West Ham we showed the opposite face. We have the feeling that we didn’t play in that game and we don’t want to live that again.”

    Tottenham’s fine start to the campaign is all the more impressive given the upheaval involved in the sale Gareth Bale – and others – and the integration of seven new signings.

    “It’s very exciting for fans because they say: ‘Oh we have money we can buy a lot of players and make a strong team for the season.’ But when you have a lot of movement during the pre-season it is never easy because you don’t have time to create something,” Lloris explains.

    “The team and the players have to adapt to the system, the manager, sometimes a new language and philosophy, so you cannot be ready for the first game of the season. You need time.”

    The changes have also meant that Lloris has quickly become an even more senior player at the club.

    “I’m a goalkeeper so it’s natural to have responsibility,” he says. “Because when you make a mistake there is no one behind you to protect you.”

    “I have been here since I was a boy, I have always considered it my Club and have always found it hard to imagine wearing the shirt of another team," Ledley King 2012 (any Spurs fan would say the same)

      Current date/time is Thu Jun 21 2018, 04:21