Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte is enjoying a reasonable season with his White Hart Lane outfit. 22 games into the season, they find themselves in fifth place in the table having collected 39 points and they are only eleven points behind North London rivals Arsenal who occupy top spot.
Whilst few expect them to close that gap during the remaining months of the 2022/23 campaign (particularly as Mikel Arteta’s side have a two game advantage over them), it could still be a very successful year for the side – they are now, however, going to have to deal with the blow that is the news that French World Cup winner goalkeeper Hugo Lloris could well be out on the side lines for the next six to eight weeks having sustained a knee injury. For people who play casino games, they would not have seen the roulette wheel deal up that kind of result.
The 36 year old club stalwart picked up knee ligament damage in their recent Premier League clash with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side, and in taking a 1-0 victory, Harry Kane took all the plaudits as he broke their all time record goalscorer tally – usurping the great Jimmy Greaves and pushing him into second place. In taking those headlines though, many fans only found out following the game that Lloris, with seven clean sheets this season, had sustained the injury as he finished the game.
The interesting thing for Spurs fans as they look forward to the next few months now is that Lloris has come under fire in more recent times for his performances, so plenty will be wondering how summer arrival, former England stopper, Fraser Forster will do in his absence.
The former Celtic and Southampton goalkeeper looked to have a great future ahead of himself until The Saints hit a seriously bad run of form a few years back, and Forster’s confidence and ability seemed to completely desert him, despite his six caps for his country. Having somewhat rebuilt his reputation during a loan spell back at Celtic in the 2019/20 campaign, we can only presume contractual issues kept him at St Mary’s, as he joined Spurs in the summer of 2022 and has so far, made only one appearance, in their Boxing Day 2-2 draw with Brentford.
Having experienced both the highs of the professional game, and then the extreme lows when your team, and then you as an individual also start to struggle and lack confidence, 34 year old Forster will be determined to make this opportunity his final English top flight swansong and prove many of his doubters wrong, so he can end his career again on an upward curve, showing the talent as a stopper that we all know he has long had.
The North London outfit do, of course, have highly rated, talented former 24 year old Academy graduates Brandon Austin and Alfie Whiteman in their first team fold, but with Austin yet to experience the professional game outside of a short loan spell with Orlando City, he is unlikely to be an option. Whiteman has more strings under his bow having at least made a substitute bow for the club back in the Europa League in 2020/21, and he has had good game time with Swedish side Degerfors in the last couple of seasons, but Forster is Lloris’s replacement and it is down to him to prove he is the more immediate future.
Photo by Unsplash