Mauricio Pochettino has appointed Hugo Lloris as his captain at Tottenham Hotspur and the manager is happy rather than worried about the interest Manchester United have shown in the goalkeeper.
Lloris’s future has been under scrutiny since he indicated that, in the continued absence of Champions League football at Tottenham, he would be receptive to a move to a club that could offer him opportunity at the elite level in Europe.
United have Lloris as one of their contingencies in the event they lose David de Gea to Real Madrid but Pochettino has made it clear he is planning for the long-term with his player.
Pochettino said that as Lloris is under contract at Tottenham until 2019, there is no issue regarding him leaving. The manager toed the club line when he added that the 28-year-old’s dream was to play Champions League football at White Hart Lane. Pochettino named Younes Kaboul as his captain in the early weeks of last season but the defender fell from favour and he has been sold this summer to Sunderland.
Lloris was one of the vice-captains together with Emmanuel Adebayor, who is training with the development squad and available for transfer.
“Hugo is the captain, and
are the vice-captains,” Pochettino said. “Hugo deserves to be the captain and, after, we have Jan and Harry. It’s a good reference for the group.
“It’s a very good mix. For different things, I decided to give the armband to Younes last season. I’m happy with the way we took that decision and I’m happy now with the decision about Hugo. Hugo’s commitment with the club is high. We need to be happy because if Manchester United want him, it’s because he’s a great goalkeeper. But Hugo is happy here and he has a contract here.
“He is keen, one day, to play in the Champions League with Tottenham. You don’t need to convince him to stay because he has a four-year contract. It’s not a big problem.”
Lloris is in line to return to the starting lineup at home to Stoke City on today, having sat out the season opener against United at Old Trafford. He injured his wrist in a holiday accident by a swimming pool at the end of June but he appeared to have demonstrated his fitness when he made his comeback in the pre-season friendly against Milan in Munich on August 5th.
He came on as a 55th-minute substitute and he made a save with two strong hands from Rodrigo Ely’s vicious drive.
It was a surprise to see him as an unused substitute at Old Trafford but Pochettino rejected the suggestion he omitted Lloris on psychological grounds because of the link to United. The manager explained it was because the player was not ready to play for 90 minutes in a competitive game and that, essentially, a goalkeeper’s match fitness had to be judged in the same way as that of an outfield player.
“Hugo was not ready,” Pochettino said. “If the game last weekend was Stoke City, he wouldn’t have played. It would have been the same decision. It wasn’t about the injury. His hand was okay. A player, though, is not only about one or two hands, and one or two legs. It is about all of him.
“The competitive games are different to friendlies.
“We worked in pre-season on a lot of things, not only saves, and the feeling that the players have [together] is important. He hadn’t trained with the team [enough] . . .”
Lloris came through his first full 90 minutes of the summer in Monday’s under-21 win over Everton.
Roberto Soldado is on the verge of moving back to Spain after Tottenham announced they had reached an agreement to sell the striker to Villarreal.
– (Guardian Service)