Neville Southall knows a little bit about what makes a good goalkeeper. The Welsh keeper is widely considered one of the best keepers of his generation, and one of the best British keepers of all time. The 1985 Football Writer's Association Footballer of the Year gave an interview to Ian Macintosh in which he calls Tottenham Hotspur's Hugo Lloris "the best in the league."
"I think [Lloris is] probably the best Spurs goalie since Pat Jennings. When I look at him, he plays the way I like a goalie to play. He's always positive, he's always looking for things, he's always proactive, he wants things to happen and he makes things happen.
He's played in a changing club with changing players. He's played with some absolutely s**t players and some good ones and he's managed to get on with both. If they've played with a high line... well, you've watched Tottenham. Some of them players, they don't know what they're doing. If there's going to be a slip, Lloris knows. He's brave on the pitch physically, he's brave mentally, he comes out and he does stuff that other goalkeepers won't do. I'd say he was the best in the league."
Southall was also effusive with praise towards Manchester United's David De Gea and Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois, but was far less complimentary towards Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet, whom he said "hasn't improved."
Lloris is the latest Tottenham player linked to a big-time move away from Spurs, and both he and De Gea will likely be in the center of a long summer of transfer negotiations, news, and rumors. Real Madrid are clearly interested in purchasing a top-class goalkeeper to replace Iker Casillas. Initial indications are that they've targeted De Gea, Spain's Number 1, as their primary target, but Hugo is tipped as the back-up plan, both for Madrid and for United if De Gea goes.
It's wonderful to hear a former player with such a high pedigree talk in such glowing terms about Spurs' goalkeeper, even if he does give a bit of a backhanded slap to the rest of the Spurs team in the process.