This time last year Heurelho Gomes was not the most popular member of the Tottenham Hotspur squad. Granted, the whole squad had been out of form in what was the worst first half of a season in Spurs’ history, but Gomes was the scapegoat who many people were happy to point the finger at. A string of high profile errors against Fulham and Aston Villa had seen Spurs drop points where they really should have been gained and the Brazilian shot stopper was going through a terrible spell of form and confidence.
Gomes’ form was seen as such a serious problem that in November of last year, goalkeeping coach Hans Leitert was relieved of his duties. Whatever work Leitert had been doing with Gomes, the Tottenham backroom staff did not feel as though it was having any effect and Harry Redknapp found himself in an awkward situation in which he did not know whether or not to stick with Gomes. The best thing that one can do when a goalkeeper is in a torrid patch of form is keep the faith and that is exactly what Redknapp did. Redknapp decided to replace Leitert and brought in former keeper and national goalkeeping coach Tony Parks, hoping that the move will spark a change in Gomes’ form.
Of the switch, Redknapp said:
“It’s difficult, but I feel you need people around you who you know. Hans was a top goalkeeping coach, but I looked at it and I felt I needed to get someone else in. Tony’s terrific; he knows the game having worked with the FA for the last few years. I spoke to Trevor Brooking about him; everyone I’ve spoken to him says he has a great personality, absolutely top-class.”
Redknapp believed that the energetic personality of Parks could help reignite the form that made Tottenham manager Juande Ramos fork out £7 million for the Brazilian. Parks impact at Spurs should not be underestimated and whilst Redknapp took much of the accolades for turning the fortunes of the club around, Parks must be credited for the change in Gomes’ form. By watching Spurs around this time last year it was becoming evident that the shot stopper’s form and confidence were increasing game by game. He begun to look more comfortable between the sticks and subsequently started making top quality saves as performances and results improved for the White Hart Lane side.
Gomes has continued his form this season and is proof that any player can go through a dismal spell of form but it does not mean their ability has been lost. He has proved valuable to a successful first half of the campaign that sees Spurs thoroughly in contention for a Champions League place. Performances against Portsmouth and Sunderland have done nothing less than earned Redknapp’s side three points, making up for those he lost in the last campaign. It has been a long time since the Brazilian made a high-profile error and Parks should be congratulated for his work with the shot stopper. Gomes is set to be a key player for Spurs in the second half of the season and their success may well depend on his form.