Hans Segers is preparing for his 10th season at Spurs – and loving his role as much as ever.
Signed as third goalkeeper at the start of the 1998-99 campaign Hans, then approaching his 37th birthday, was forced into action twice within a couple of months following injury to Ian Walker and Espen Baardsen, before taking his role as goalkeeping coach.
In the following nine seasons his senior goalkeepers have been ‘Walks’, Neil Sullivan, Kasey Keller and now England’s number one Paul Robinson and Radek Cerny.
When Robbo arrived at Spurs in May 2004, Hans was determined to help him take over the England jersey – he did it just two months into the 2004-05 season and has been there ever since.
“I’ve been here nine seasons now and I love it,” reflected Hans, a former member of Wimbledon's 'Crazy Gang', for whom he made over 250 appearances. "I love working with the boys, love to see them improve and the camaraderie between them, the competitiveness every day, you can’t beat it.
“It’s the next best thing after finishing playing.”
Anyone lucky enough to witness a Segers training session will know that his goalkeepers are pushed to the limit day in, day out – and he won’t have it any other way.
“When I was a player, I wanted to perform day in, day out and wanted to do things at 100 per cent all the time,” he explained.
“That’s how I was brought up at PSV Eindhoven and I always realised how lucky I was to be doing this job. We’ve been given a gift and shouldn’t take it for granted.
“I tell my goalkeepers to respect the job they are doing and how lucky they are. I expect 100 per cent every day and the goalkeepers know that. I wouldn’t let them get away with anything less because I would be on their cases.
“But I’ve never had a problem with any of the goalkeepers, they are there every morning ready to go.”
When reviewing matches and performances, Hans has a simple theory – every goal is avoidable. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a screamer into the top corner, through a change of position you can avoid it,” he added.
“Of course, it doesn’t work like that – it’s impossible, but you have to work to that extreme. It will never come off, but if you think and work that way, you will go a long way.”
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