Sep 14, 2012, 4:15 PM EDT
André Villas-Boas is as good as his word. The Tottenham Hotspur manager said Brad Friedel was his number one goalkeeper, and he’s set to follow through. Thus the former U.S. international will start this weekend against Reading, making recently acquired France national team captain Hugo Lloris the best number two in world soccer.
Based on how Friedel has played, the decision’s easily justifiable. A few key saves from the incumbent is the only thing that salvaged a point in Spurs’ last match, a performance that made the Lloris acquisition even more curious.
Sure, getting a world class goalkeeper for £10 million is a steal, but acquiring a player to immediately upset him is generally considered … I was about to say “a no-no,” but this situation is never really discussed. It’s just assumed you don’t want to anger your newest acquisitions. Paying for somebody only to destroy his trust in the club is goes without saying bad.
Of course, Spurs are entitled to play whomever has earned the job, but based on what we know from France coach Didier Deschamps, Lloris is none too happy with the state he’s in. It seems very unlikely the former Lyon number one would move if he knew he was destined for the bench, and considering the implications on Lloris’s career (for club and internationally), it’s arguably unethical for Spurs not to give him a heads up. This may have just been poor planning on Lloris’s part, but based on his reaction to seeing the bench, he’s certainly been taken off guard.
All of which forces us to ask what’s going on at Spurs. On the heels of their near-broken promise to Luka Modric (saying they’d sell him only to make him a pawn in a game of chicken), the Lloris misunderstanding looks terrible. Tottenham surely can’t be the least talent-friendly club in the world (after all, players still go there), but this is horrible player relations. Think you’re going to be allowed to leave? Screw you. You’re staying. Think you’re going to play? Screw you. You’re sitting. Oh, we gave you the impression otherwise? Screw you. You’re under contract.
And then there’s the case of Michael Dawson. As a Twitter friend reminded me, the Spurs’ captain and former regular in central defense found himself on the transfer list before he had a chance to fill Ledley King’s armband. There were some pre-deadline rumors the England international would move (and plenty of clubs would want him), but he’s still at Spurs, yet to see action this season. Villas-Boas’s obligated to play his best defenders, but Dawson’s is another unfortunate situation. You’d ideally like to do better by players who’ve been at the club for nine years and garnered enough respect to earn the captaincy.
Friedel is on the other side of that line. His play has put him in Villas-Boas’s good graces. Until he falters, he doesn’t have to worry about feeling the rougher edges of Spurs’ player relations (or lack there of). He’s one of the lucky ones.
May 22, 2013, 9:20 PM EDT
The U.S. Open Cup draws sometimes need a decoder ring to decipher. Here’s a quick-and-dirty look at the MLS teams’ futures.
May 22, 2013, 8:17 PM EDT
If PSG’s willing to take Rooney’s wages of their hands, Manchester United can justify moving on.
May 22, 2013, 7:32 PM EDT
Houston’s defensive leader sees his banned doubled by the Disciplinary Committee.
May 22, 2013, 6:47 PM EDT
Tom Sermanni has brought new talent into the national team, but it’s too early to know the extent to which the U.S.’s roster will see new faces.
May 22, 2013, 6:02 PM EDT
Cristiano Ronaldo will serve a two-match ban. José Mourinho will skirt it.
May 22, 2013, 5:26 PM EDT
Michele Beadle and friends take a look at what NYCFC means to the New York sports scene.
May 22, 2013, 4:44 PM EDT
We tend to beat up the Chivas organization for its off-the-wall strategic approaches and front-office instability, but what exactly is wrong with the team on the field?
May 22, 2013, 4:03 PM EDT
Yesterday’s announcement included few surprises ahead of the U.S.’s June 2 match at BMO Field.
May 22, 2013, 3:18 PM EDT
Well, what took them so long to get into the party?
May 22, 2013, 2:40 PM EDT
Looks like a mixed bag for the American trio:
May 22, 2013, 2:05 PM EDT
As the towering English forward weighs up his options, should he return to Liverpool, sign for West Ham or go elsewhere?
May 22, 2013, 1:40 PM EDT
With Dortmund’s main attacker threat out injured, can Dortmund still lift the Champions League trophy?
May 22, 2013, 1:15 PM EDT
Can the Yankees provide a viable option for New York City FC to play in? Of course they can. Maybe.
May 22, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT
They have owners and an employee, but now comes the hardest part for MLS expansion club NYCFC. The challenges ahead are daunting:
May 22, 2013, 12:21 PM EDT
The one accolade no EPL player wants on their soccer resume…
May 22, 2013, 11:05 AM EDT
New York City FC announces Reyna as first employee, a good first move, right?
May 22, 2013, 10:06 AM EDT
Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, Red Bull Arena… which venue could work best as a temporary home for New York City FC?
May 22, 2013, 8:54 AM EDT
The magic of the Cup lives on, as four PDL sides now face trips to MLS teams in the third-round. Is this the stuff dreams are made of?
May 22, 2013, 8:19 AM EDT
Pulis joins long list of EPL managers departing… is English soccer becoming more ruthless?
May 21, 2013, 8:02 PM EDT
Wait a minute … didn’t MLS commissioner Don Garber say there “is no Plan B …” beyond the Queens location?
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