In the second part of his fascinating insight into our French international skipper, goalkeeping coach Tony Parks talks about the new trend in goalkeeping - 'sweeper-keepers' - or not so new, as he explains...
Hugo is at the forefront of new breed of goalkeepers, ‘sweeper keepers’, can you tell us about that?
Tony Parks: "That’s interesting. It’s not something that’s new and the best example I can give of a goalkeeper doing that is Ray Clemence (Liverpool 1967-81, Spurs 1981-87). He was so quick across the ground, with natural speed.
"Hugo is very much like that. I think people have looked at Hugo and I now see goalkeepers doing it who are not particularly as quick as him, but it’s almost as if their managers have looked at Hugo and said ‘we want our goalkeeper to play like that’.
"We had a funny scenario the other day when I was watching a young lad in our Academy set-up, and it was like watching Hugo. So from a very young age right through to senior goalkeepers, I’m noticing more goalkeepers like that. Perhaps it’s a theme at clubs where coaches are saying ‘the goalkeeper at Tottenham does it this way’.
"Hugo senses danger and cuts it out at source. That means he doesn’t have to rely on his agility to make world-class saves. It’s not a new phenomenon, a sweeper-keeper. For me, Ray Clemence was the best at the time, but Hugo’s brought it back to the fore."
If others are looking at Hugo and copying, you could say that's the biggest compliment of all...
Tony: "The game went a little bit towards the goalkeeper who was a footballer. Everyone wanted a goalkeeper who was good with his feet, with a good range of passing, but goalkeepers are there to keep the ball out of the net, bottom line.
"That type of goalkeeper played a lot deeper in his goal, like Edwin van der Sar (ex-United, Holland) or Pepe Reina (ex-Liverpool), both brilliant with the ball at their feet. Maarten Stekelenburg at Fulham is the same. You have to play deeper to give yourself the time, angle and space to deal with the back-pass and see the pictures in front of you.
"We play with a defensive line that squeezes in and a goalkeeper who will squeeze in behind them to deal with the ball. I’m not bothered if Hugo can play football. He can deal with the back-pass, he has a decent left foot and he’s a great goalkeeper. The best goalkeepers keep the ball out of the net, they aren’t footballers, they are goalkeepers, and that’s what we have. There are some excellent goalkeepers in the Premier League but for me, Hugo is the best."