Hugo Lloris Will Benefit from Brad Friedel If He Ignores Bitter Didier Deschamps

Trent Scott@ IIISeptember 5, 2012

DONETSK, UKRAINE - JUNE 23:  Hugo Lloris of France reacts during the UEFA EURO 2012 quarter final match between Spain and France at Donbass Arena on June 23, 2012 in Donetsk, Ukraine.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Perhaps Hugo Lloris did not witness Tottenham’s 1-1 draw with Norwich on Saturday.

He certainly did not see that Brad Friedel was flying about like a man half his age in denying Canary midfielders Robert Snodgrass and Anthony Pilkington, along with Russell Martin and Simeon Jackson.

Or maybe he did and someone who did not want to “create a problem he didn’t have today” decided to put himself on a platform for all to see.

Whatever the case may be, Lloris is not likely to be the starter when Spurs travel to the Madjeski Stadium in a fortnight to do battle with Reading.

It’s not a bad deal for both parties, though.

Friedel has been rather busy in the opening three weeks as Tottenham try and adjust to Andre Villas-Boas’ playing style while dodging the bullets being shot at them in Premier League play.

So maybe they did not get the early results they wanted. After all, it’s not as if Spurs have been white-hot starters any time recently.

Only after the first two matches of last term and in the 2009-2010 season has the club started off with more than 10 points in the opening five matches.

Once the club reconvenes after the international break (barring injury), they should have a better grasp on things as the club is settled after the close of the transfer window.

As Jermain Defoe pointed out, not knowing who was going to be showing up in the dressing room does have its downsides.


"It was a bit mad," said Defoe. "You walk into the changing rooms, see the lads and don't know if you're going to see them the next day. It's funny.

"I had my wisdom tooth out one day, came in and Tom Huddlestone had gone to Stoke [although the move stalled]. Someone else went. I said to the lads: 'I miss one day and all the players are gone!'"

That probably did not help matters but once they have had time to jell, and with the flexibility Tottenham are soon to enjoy, the squad should be able to start rolling in the points.

This brings us back to Lloris.

It should be noted that while Ligue 1 has some physical forwards, they cannot hold a candle to the big boys of the Premier League.

Lloris has only ever seen one English club in the Champions League while with Lyon, that being Liverpool in the 2009-2010 edition group stage.

He’s probably never spent a thrilling afternoon at the Britannia Stadium trying to physically deal with Stoke's Robert Huth, Ryan Shawcross and Peter Crouch in the box.

Upton Park has not been a destination yet for the Frenchman, with Andy Carroll, Kevin Nolan, Winston Reid, James Collins and the rest of Sam Allardyce’s West Ham bearing down on goal.

Grant Holt and Steve Morrison might have given Lloris more fits that William Gallas in the match with Norwich.

We could go on for a while, but I think the point is getting across.

Lloris needs some time to be blooded into the brutal world of English football.

He could not have a better mentor than Brad Friedel, who could almost be his father, such is the difference in age.

Friedel’s 307 (and counting) straight starts have granted him a fountain of knowledge that few goalkeepers around the world are privy to.

The likes of Edwin van der Saar, Pepe Reina, Petr Cech and Tim Howard are some of the most battle-tested soldiers, right alongside Friedel, that have graced the trenches of Premier League parks across England.

They might tell Lloris the same thing: get ready to rumble, tumble and be battered by any one at any time.

Lloris might be best off learning through the cups England have on offer as to what in the world he has just signed on to.

At some point, Friedel will eventually cede his gloves to the Frenchman and all will be well in the world.

Just not right this second.

Of course, this whole situation has a certain plot twist to it in the form of Didier Deschamps.

Deschamps, the French national team boss, worked everyone up into a spot of bother when he decided to unload on Villas-Boas:


"I saw what Villas-Boas said. These statements surprised me.

"If I comment, it will make an echo on the other side of the Channel. I'm not going to create a problem that I don't have today. I have other problems to solve but, if it happens, it deserves consideration.

"I do not want Hugo put in this situation. He did not appreciate the statements. You all know the value of Hugo. He is focused on these two games [World Cup qualifiers against Finland and Belarus] and I hope that, after that, it will go well for him."

Deschamps, of course, made an echo regardless of his unwillingness to “create a problem.”

First of all, we do not have a direct quote from Lloris in this whole mess that I am aware of, which means we have to assume Deschamps is telling the truth here.

Deschamps, however, seems to be agitated that Spurs would even dare to not kowtow to Lloris and simply hand the goal over to the French captain.

Now, at least from one man’s perspective, it is understandable that the French national team boss would want his number one keeper to be playing regularly.

On the other…there is this wonderful thing called “competition” in the world, something that Lloris has probably not been subjected to for some time.

Having the Frenchman push for a place on a team he just joined makes a little bit of sense when the man he is aiming to replace is not exactly half bad in his own right.

Deschamps seems to be stirring the pot because he can, not because he has any substance to back it up.

For Lloris, it may be unsettling to have to fight for a spot, but it is a challenge he might want to consider.

The lessons that Friedel could impart to him would make his eventual time as the Tottenham No. 1 a lot more successful than many others who have tried and failed in England.

It would seem more fitting for Lloris to take heed of the guidance of an old Premier League workhorse and American legend, not the whim of a national team coach that could be gone in two years’ time.


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