Lloris won't be happy with bit-part role at Spurs

Published:

PARIS (AP) -- Hugo Lloris is determined to prove he deserves to be Tottenham's first-choice goalkeeper and won't settle for a bit-part role.

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas signed Lloris from Lyon on transfer deadline day in August but has used 41-year-old Brad Friedel after the former United States international made a string of strong performances.

Lloris only made his Premier League debut against Aston Villa on Sunday, ending Friedel's run of 310 consecutive Premier League matches.

Lloris admits that he was disappointed to be on the bench for big games, such as Tottenham's 3-2 win at Manchester United two weeks ago.

"Let's just say it makes you want to get out on the pitch ... Things are clear, I didn't sign for Tottenham to have that role. I'm at the team's disposal, I respect everyone, but I came here to play," Lloris said Thursday in an interview with sports daily L'Equipe. "I'm not here to cause problems, but rather to provide solutions. But, of course, I have a status, I want to keep it as long as possible and that comes about through playing (games)."

The 25-year-old Lloris, who has made 40 appearances for France, is among Europe's most highly-rated keepers but quickly realized that in England his reputation counted for relatively little.

"I don't think it can be taken away from me, this status, but when you arrive in a new universe, you have to prove things, which is normal," Lloris said. "England remains a particular culture. The English want to see you playing on the pitch before they judge you. But it's a form of self-questioning that suits me very well, in my life as a man and in my life as a sportsman."

Lloris' arrival took so long because Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas did not want to sell him for what was a relatively low price -- €10 million ($13 million) -- considering Lloris' age, international experience, and ability. But with debts mounting, Lyon was in a weak position and had to sell.

"I imagined leaving a lot earlier, but it's something us, the players, can control. I arrived at the last minute, there was a team already in place," Lloris said. "It's true that I have a status in France, but I will have to show that whenever I have the chance to play, and I think things will fall into place fairly quickly.

"I've been signed as part of a future project, but the future project starts now," he added. "Competition for places exists everywhere, but my relations with Brad Friedel, with the goalkeeper coach (Tony Parks) and with the manager are good."

Much was made of Villas-Boas' apparent reluctance to sign Lloris, with reports saying it was Tottenham president Daniel Levy who insisted he be signed. Although Lloris admits he was initially worried by those reports, he has since cleared the matter up.

"I spoke to the manager, there wasn't any ambiguity. He told me everyone at Tottenham wanted me to come," Lloris said. "This football fiction that was put into place around me disturbs me. I can't control it but I also know who I can trust."

Lloris has had a little taste of what English football is about and is now eager to sample more.

"There's more contact with the goalie, the game is a lot quicker, there are more chances," he said. "It's true that there's a lot of contact, but if you have to take two or three blows, then I'll take them. I'm ready for it."

Lloris will play for France in Friday's friendly against Japan, ahead of Tuesday's World Cup qualifier at Spain.