Since joining us from Lyon in August, 2012, Hugo has kept clean sheets in almost 40 per cent of his 62 matches in all competitions, including 18 in his 50 games in the Premier League.
So what makes Hugo tick? Goalkeeping coach Tony Parks, famously a UEFA Cup winner during his playing days at the club in 1984, gave us a fascinating insight into the French international captain that we’ll run today and tomorrow here on tottenhamhotspur.com.
Can you tell us why Hugo is such a great goalkeeper?
Tony Parks: “For me, it’s because he makes decisions so quickly and sticks to them. He never changes his mind, even if he’s wrong. Invariably, as a goalkeeper, you make one or two decisions that aren’t right, but I never see Hugo getting caught in areas where he’s thinking ‘shall I, shan’t I?’. He’s very quick-brained and quick-footed, and that gets him around the goal quickly.
“Obviously, he has all the attributes that all top goalkeepers have – agility, speed, power – he doesn’t look particularly strong in terms of his frame, but he’s a physically strong individual. I don’t think there is a lot to choose between the top goalkeepers these days, just their mental strength and that’s the area that really impresses me with Hugo. He’s mentally very tough. He’s been playing for a long time already, from a young age, when he was given the opportunity to perform in matches rather than on training pitches. That is now our gain.
“I believe, absolutely, that he is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League and I won’t change my opinion on that. The Club made a fantastic signing when we brought him in and I think he’s repaid that faith with a high level of performance over his 50 Premier League games for us so far.”
Hugo seems such a driven individual, is that the case?
Tony: “Yes, and he’s a young man who I don’t believe has come to the prime of his career yet. He’s already French national captain and an incredible person, really.
“He’s a great guy, a very hard-working, driven professional footballer but I also see another side to Hugo, a very caring, compassionate young man who is a big family man. He’s an outstanding young person, really, not just the goalkeeper, but the human being as well. He’s a really impressive guy.”
Tomorrow - Tony talks about the ‘sweeper-keeper’ role...