8 Reasons Hugo Lloris Is a Better Option for Tottenham Hotspur Than Brad Friedel
The baton has been passed, the crown has been handed over—Hugo Lloris has been given the starting job at goalkeeper by Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas.
It was a nice run by former keeper Brad Friedel. No, scratch that, it was a remarkable run from an athlete who is facing opposing strikers nearly two decades his junior.
There is nothing more Friedel could have done to keep himself between the posts—his endurance to start 310 matches in a row is unprecedented and his athleticism to twist and turn a 41-year-old body so as to make saves against the likes of Wayne Rooney, David Hoilett and Demba Ba will always be remembered.
But there's a new goalkeeper at White Hart Lane, and as much as my Yankee blood wants to back an American in Friedel, I have to admit that Lloris is the way to go.
Join me as I present to you the eight reasons why Hugo Lloris is the better option at Tottenham.
All credit to Friedel for keeping his body fine-tuned enough to still be performing at the highest level after an 18-year career, but better to go with the young Lloris than squeeze another string of games out of the old veteran.
At just 25 years old, Lloris has established himself as a world-class keeper, first in Ligue 1 with Nice and Lyon, but also with France's national team.
The advantage easily goes to Lloris in this situation who has—barring any major injury—another decade of solid play in front of him.
No disrespect to Friedel, but Lloris is a different kind of goalkeeper—he's an acrobatic shot-stopper who relies on his athleticism and his agility to keep the ball out of the net.
Friedel is an old-school keeper—physical, gruff and intelligent.
It's Lloris who has the quicker reflexes and who will be able to make the short save with more success than Friedel.
Although Lloris is a good inch shorter than Friedel, I'd still wager to say that the Frenchman has a better jump than the American.
As I said before, Friedel has never been one to consistently make acrobatic saves, but Lloris has and his jumps have helped knock more than one long-range shot over the crossbar.
Champions League Experience
With more than 530 appearances, Friedel certainly has Lloris beaten on club experience. But do appearances at the club level build the kind of character you want in your goalkeeper?
At just 25 years old, Lloris has already bested Friedel in Champions League experience, facing off against the best clubs with the best players an astonishing 38 times. Friedel has played in just 26 Champions League matches.
...and International Duty in Europe
At 41 years old, Friedel is far past the point where the U.S. national team would give him a call-up, thereby limiting (again) the range of experience he earns.
And even if Friedel was still playing at the international level, it's CONCACAF—nothing compared to UEFA in terms of quality in opponents or scale of tournaments.
Lloris, on the other hand, is captain for France's national team. Just last summer, he reached the quarterfinals against Spain after conceding just one goal against England and blanking the Ukraine.
For World Cup qualification, he'll have to face Finland, Spain, Georgia and Belarus—a balanced group that will test Lloris and make him better at White Hart Lane.
Command of the Box
Already in his short time as goalkeeper for Tottenham, Lloris has shown a ferocity to protect his box that was rarely seen with Friedel.
Lloris's athleticism and penchant for the acrobatic will keep opponents from knocking in the kinds of headers that cost Friedel wins, draws and a clean sheets.
Favor with Defense
As a younger player who plays a style of goalkeeping that puts his body on the line with seemingly every shot, Lloris will quickly endear himself to teammates—especially with defenders who are doing the same.
It says something when veterans like William Gallas came over to congratulate Lloris after his first match against Aston Villa. Gallas has been a teammate of Friedel's for years, but he's indicative to the kind of favor Lloris has, and will continue to earn, at Tottenham.
With the trajectory Lloris is on, the sky's the limit for the former Ligue 1 star.
Lloris started his career at Nice, moved to Lyon and his third team is Tottenham—a club looking more and more like a contender for next season's Champions League.
Comparatively, Friedel's debut came with Brondby of Denmark's Superliga. He then moved to Turkey to play with Galatasaray and then came back home to play with the Columbus Crew of the MLS.
At 25 years old, Lloris is already a starter in the Premier League—the most balanced of Europe's top-tier leagues.
His future looks bright. He's the prospect you'd want to bet on.