Playing as a goalkeeper is the most unforgiving position you can play. It only takes one mistake and the ball usually ends up in the back of your net. So often, fans see a goalkeeper make fantastic saves and they then fall in love with that player because of it, but there is more to being a goalkeeper than just making saves. Hugo Lloris of Tottenham Hotspur is a perfect example of this.
Lloris is undeniably a great shot stopper, but other aspects of his game make for nervous watching if you’re a Spurs fan. The diving saves and fabulous reflexes cloud people’s judgement sometimes because they obviously make a big impact and grab people’s attention. Lloris can certainly do that. Overall, though, the Frenchman is an excellent goalkeeper but with one crucial flaw.
His decision making is extremely erratic. The amount of times you see Lloris come flying out of his net and get halfway only to realize he shouldn’t even be there are far too frequent. Talent-wise he’s one of the best around — in terms of natural ability. His decision making has to improve, though, if he is to truly reach the level that many observers thought he would when he was younger.
Lloris was up to his old tricks again against Benfica on Thursday in the Europa League. Rushing off of his line, only to run underneath the ball and have to turn around as a Benfica player was running in on goal. Luckily it didn’t result in a goal, as Spurs were already behind in a game that they ultimately went on to lose 3-1 at home.
Lloris has moments like that far too often though, and it is something he needs to try and eradicate from his play. Against Manchester United in the Premier League earlier this season, he came rushing out, only to bring down Ashley Young when he really could have stayed on his line. It’s just bad decision making. There are more examples, too, just from this season, not necessarily over a long period of time. At Manchester City, Joe Hart has been guilty of the same mistakes in his career too — this season in fact.
That’s why when evaluating a goalkeeper you have to take into consideration a lot more than just shot stopping. It’s the overall package and decision making is a big part of it. Lloris has time to rectify things yet, of course. After all, he’s only 27 and for a goalkeeper that is still young — he could still have ten years left to run in his career possibly. Before he can improve his decision making, though, he first needs to make a decision to do exactly that. Actually, that would be the best decision he’s made all season. You have to start somewhere.