Tottenham goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris, took a leaf out of Andros Townsend’s book by returning to play out the final minutes having received treatment after taking a knock on his head. ‘Goalkeepers are mad’ so the saying goes – did Lloris’ actions at Everton sign him up as a full member.For the second consecutive Premier League game Spurs have finished the match with a player who had to receive lengthy treatment for an injury but returned to play out the final minutes against the wishes of the medical staff. Last weekend against Hull City it was Andros Townsend and this week Hugo Lloris returned to play after taking a knock to the side of his head as he gathered the ball at the feet of Lukaku.
Yesterday at Everton, there was concern when Lloris stayed down after the challenge from the Belgian striker. Lukaku’s knee had caught Lloris as the goalkeeper claimed the ball and he tried to avoid him lying on the ground. Play was stopped with medics rushing to attend to the prone goalkeeper. As the French international lay motionless on the ground, the medical staff attended to him and a stretcher was brought on as Brad Friedel prepared to replace for the last fifteen minutes of the game. Following the attention to his head, Lloris was sitting up beside the stretcher and it was assumed that he would go off.
After the game, Andre Villas-Boas confirmed that Lloris had been knocked when he dived at Lukaku’s feet. He told the BBC,
He doesn’t remember it so he lost consciousness. It was a big knock but he looked composed and ready to continue.
It became uncertain what was going to happen, Friedel waited on the touchline, ready for action as Andre Villas-Boas watched on. At this point the goalkeeper moved over towards the sidelines apparently going off. He stopped and more discussions took place with Michael Dawson and other players. Lloris then made to return to the goal area but the medics were concerned about this and again spoke to him and the referee. Mr Friend talked to Lloris and after some more time it transpired that Lloris would not go off.
After the match Michael Dawson expressed his concern about Lloris’ welfare and what he had said to his goalkeeper. The article on the BBC web-site had his remarks.
He took a really bad whack and I was worried when he went down and stayed down. When he got up his legs gave way but he stayed on and made two good saves. I lead those boys but safety is the most important thing.
Dawson admits that when he came round Lloris wanted to play on and that after the game Lloris was dazed but that he was improving.
Andros TownsendLast weekend after being treated for over eight minutes Andros Townsend played on against Hull with his wrist heavily strapped. He had been unconscious and needed oxygen while receiving attention in the photographers’ pit behind the goal at White Hart Lane. Townsend looked groggy as he appeared from behind the goals with a medic ushering him around the pitch. He had broken two bones in his wrist but he was insistent that he was returning to the pitch against the wishes of the medical staff. He played against Everton with a protective cast on his arm.
Such commitment is unusual as so often players leave the pitch at the slightest injury. The desire of the players to continue is commendable but the medical staff were clearly concerned about the players’ fitness to continue. If Tottenham had not used all three substitites last week there would have been no question of Townsend returning to the pitch as AVB would have replaced him immediately. It was the fact that Spurs had no further substitutions to make that gave Townsend the opportunity to come back on to the pitch after such a period of time.
Against Everton, the medics were concerned about Lloris but were unable to get him off the pitch to make the substitution.
Neither player wanted to let his team-mates down and they were able to contribute to the game through those final minutes. Lloris was fully aware of what was going on – coped with the pressure put on him by Everton at two corners, rushed out to clear the ball at the edge of his area and then made his only real save of the afternoon when the Everton substitute worked his way through the Spurs defence. Lloris came out to narrow the angle as Deulofeu shot powerfully from the right and blocked his effort.
Bravery, commitment, fool-hardy and dangerous are some of the words which could describe the actions of Townsend and Lloris but was it sensible to allow them to continue? Having been knocked unconscious, no-one could be certain that there had been no unseen damage done. The players would be monitored and receive the best possible attention after the game but playing on for those extra minutes delayed them receiving that attention and in a worse case scenario could have had serious consequences.
There’s a trend of thought that all goalkeepers are mad and on the evidence from yesterday’s game against Everton, there might be some truth in it. Lloris set aside concerns about his own welfare and ignored the advice and wishes of the medical staff to play on. With a head injury it was a risky thing to do but thankfully he has recovered and no damage was done.