Antonio Conte has lavished praise on Hugo Lloris for his ability as a goalkeeper and his leadership skills, backing the Tottenham captain to continue playing for a long time.
Lloris has been a fantastic servant to Tottenham for over a decade but the goalkeeper has shown some signs of decline this season, with more errors seeming to creep into his game.
Reports over recent months have indicated that Antonio Conte and Fabio Paratici have discussed replacing the goalkeeper next summer (Evening Standard).
This was confirmed by Football.London’s Alasdair Gold, who revealed on Thursday that signing a successor for the Frenchman is on Tottenham’s agenda for the summer.
However, Conte has insisted that he thinks the 36-year-old will be playing at the top level for a long time to come.
When asked about the 36-year-old, the Italian told Football.London: “I think we lose time if we talk about Hugo because his career speaks for itself. We are talking about one of the best keepers in the world in the past ten years.
“I can tell you only this and I repeat that we will lose time when we speak about Hugo because we are talking about a top keeper and a top man, especially. I think he will play, will continue to play for many years.”
One of the goalkeepers who Spurs are allegedly eyeing as a potential replacement for Lloris is Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez (GiveMeSport), who squared off against the Tottenham number one in the World Cup final.
The pair will come up against each other once again when Tottenham host Aston Villa on Sunday, and Conte was asked to compare the extroverted Argentine with the more understated Spurs captain.
The Spurs head coach responded: “I have to be honest, I don’t like to speak about players from other teams. I don’t like to do it because you have to respect them, we are not talking about my player and I can only give you an evaluation on a technical aspect. Then, for me, the topic finishes there.
“Martinez in this moment, first of all, he won the World Cup and he was a protagonist in winning the most important trophy in the world.
“Then, for sure, he has a long career, to show and to be the best and one of the best keepers in the world. But, I repeat, like Cuti (Romero) now starts the difficult situation.
“Now, you are high but you have to stay high and possibly to improve and show that it was a one-off situation. Important players after a win, they build an important career and starting with this win, then to win, win and improve their level.”
“I can give you an opinion about the quality of the players and we are talking about two important goalkeepers. Martinez is younger than Hugo. He played a really good World Cup.
“He made important saves. Don’t forget in the final in the 119th minute he made a fantastic save, otherwise, we are talking about a France World Cup instead of Argentina. He’s a player who can continue to grow but you’re talking about a really good goalkeeper.
“About Hugo, we’re talking about a champion in his role. His career speaks very clear. He won the World Cup but he was always a protagonist with his national team.
“For Tottenham, I don’t know how many years he’s played for Tottenham, but he’s a guarantee for us. On Sunday my expectation is to see both players play the game.”
Conte also revealed that Lloris has been in good spirits since returning to the Tottenham camp despite the World Cup final heartbreak.
When asked about the goalkeeper’s state of mind, the 53-year-old said: “For sure when you lose a final of the World Cup, your feeling is not so good, but about Hugo, it was really good for him to put the disappointment to one side and then to come back in a fantastic way.”
“I see him totally involved from the first day with us. I asked him to come back early, to stay with us for the game against Brentford.
“He was on the bench but his figure is very important for the dressing room for the whole Tottenham environment. Now he’s ready. He had three good training sessions with our goalkeeper coach. Now he’s ready.”
Spurs Web Opinion
I do not think we should take Conte’s statement as evidence that Lloris is not likely to be replaced at the end of the season. Having said that, I believe both Conte and Paratici would be more than open to sticking with the Frenchman as Tottenham’s number one for one more season if he impresses for the rest of this campaign.
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