Heurelho Gomes: How the tide has turned

gomesSince joining Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2008, shot stopper Heurelho Gomes has experienced a rollercoaster ride to say the least. Gomes has risen from the Premier League clown, ridiculed wherever he went, to one of the in form keepers of the league.

Turn the clock back to the early stages of Gomes’ Tottenham days and you will most likely find the worst years of his career. After the first few games of the season Spurs found themselves in the relegation zone, somewhere they did not expect to be after an optimistic summer. Gomes was one of the main perpetrators of Spurs’ bad form, with several high profile errors costing the team points. The most notable of which were in a home match with Aston Villa, in which he let an tame Ashley Young shot slip under his body and of course the infamous Simon Davies strike for Fulham which caused Chris Kamara to exclaim ‘he could have thrown his cap on it, it’s laughable!’ The situation became so serious that goalkeeping coach Hans Leitert lost his job.

Going through a rut for a goalkeeper is terrible news. Confidence is possibly the most key factor for a keeper and Gomes began to lack it in abundance. He was mocked everywhere he went, even at White Hart Lane, where a section of Spurs fans would ironically cheer every time the Brazilian made a save. Yet now Gomes is in top form and Tottenham are flying – so where did it all change?

Even in his darkest of hours, it was still known that Gomes was a decent keeper. He made his name in Holland with PSV Eindhoven and had a reputation for being a quality shot stopper, that wasn’t going to disappear whilst on a plane over to England. The arrival of Harry Redknapp shortly after the sacking of Juande Ramos did wonders for Gomes. Redknapp kept his confidence in him, despite the arrival of Italian stopper Carlo Cudicini from Chelsea, and his performances began to turn around. It is always a huge confidence boost when a manager installs their trust in you and Gomes will no doubt have benefited from Redknapp’s arrival.

Gomes has started this season in outstanding form. The highest possible accolade for a goalkeeper is to leave a game with people feeling as though the keeper’s performance has won them the points and it is something Gomes has experienced a few times already this season. The most notable of Gomes’ performances has to be in the 2-1 victory away at relegation strugglers Portsmouth. Spurs were subjected to a second half barrage from Paul Hart’s men, but luckily for the Lilywhites Gomes was up to the task, producing a string of world class saves, one in particular that would later be compared to Gordon Banks World Cup save by former Spurs keeper Pat Jennings. In addition to this Gomes saved a Darren Bent penalty in a recent home fixture against Sunderland, enabling Spurs to emerge 2-0 winners.

Although the Brazilian keeper may still experience the odd bit of abuse from travelling fans for his errors last season, he has silenced the majority of his critics. Gomes has emerged from his dark chapter as proof that even when experiencing the worst runs of form; one can always pull through it. He is likely to be a key member of Spurs’ team this season and will need to continue his form if they are to achieve a top four finish.