Hugo Lloris vs. Brad Friedel: Scoring the Goalkeeper Duel at Tottenham
Lloris or Friedel? Friedel or Lloris?
One might hope these aren't the questions floating through Andre Villas-Boas' mind as he tosses and turns in his trench coat, but the new manager has a bit of a dilemma on his hands.
Do you go with the young player your club just signed for all that money and who seems ill-content with sitting on the bench?
Or do you go with the aging player who has, by most people's perceptions, done nothing to lose his job except age?
It's a tough call for AVB, and one that provides a very unneeded distraction. After all, his Tottenham side has raised enough questions in their play in the outfield over the first three matches.
So let's help him out.
Here's a breakdown of the keeper battle at White Hart Lane.
The advantage here definitely goes to the Frenchman.
At just 25-years-old, Lloris has already established himself as one of the best shot stoppers in world football.
Now, Friedel is by no means a slouch in this area. The American has proved a formidable presence in the net, as evidenced by his play against Norwich City last Saturday.
Still, Lloris's play for France and Lyon has shown his ability to make the acrobatic and incredible save.
Friedel's advantage in experience is more than just his advantage in sheer volume of matches he has played.
Lloris has not only never played at White Hart Lane, he hasn't played a minute in the Premier League yet.
On the other hand, Friedel has played in more than 400 Premier League matches in his career.
Now, I'm not looking to knock Ligue 1 or the competition it provides, but the game is just different in different countries.
It's nice to have someone used to the English style of play rather than someone making adjustments to a new game.
Well this one couldn't be more obvious.
At 41-years-old, Friedel is already a medical marvel in his longevity. If he were to suddenly start pushing the ball into the back of his net, no one would be too surprised.
At 25-years-old, Lloris probably has at least 10 years of top-level play left.
This one's a tougher call.
On the one hand, Lloris is a young prospect who has some very favorable attributes. Hence, the defense might be happier playing in front of him.
On the other, Friedel has been at White Hart Lane for a year now and has done very little to warrant losing his spot. To replace him now would send a message to the side that any player can be replaced by someone younger, no matter their level of play.
I think the latter resonates a bit more.
Look, I do see the dilemma here.
Many people seem to be clamoring for Lloris to get the job as soon as possible, and I get that. I also see why it would be hard to go away from Friedel, though.
Honestly, I don't fault AVB too much for his handling of this. It's a difficult situation that should have been taken care of in the transfer window, whether by holding off on the move for Lloris or by selling Friedel.
If I were AVB, here is what I'd do:
I would tell Brad that, if his play stays stellar, he will have the job for four more months. If he wants a starting role after that, he should start looking for another club to transfer to come January. At the same time, I would explain to Hugo that he is our keeper of the future, but that I am slightly worried about his adjustment to English football. As a result, he will spend the first four months training hard and playing in all the cups (League and Europa) and, if he shows the signs I expect him to, will then take over the Premier League role in January.
Again, I can see this going either way, but that's what I would do.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.
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