We at Carty Free believe Tottenham Hotspur’s fullbacks haven’t been getting the love and appreciation that they deserve this season. It’s not just us, either: Spurs captain and France No. 1 Hugo Lloris thinks so too. In comments to the press after Tottenham’s 2-1 win over Burnley, Lloris compared Kyle Walker and Danny Rose to French fullbacks Lilian Thuram and Bixente Lizarazu, and said that they have the ability to be the best in the world.
“Yes [they could be as good as Thuram and Lizarazu], and for England, too. They are still competing with good players but if they keep working hard, I would not be surprised if they have great international careers — and they will help the club achieve great things as well.
“They are very committed to the team. They have been at the club for a number of years and you can see that on the pitch. The way they play, the way they run; they can feel it.
“In the way we play, they have a lot of freedom. We play a very attacking game but they try to be as strong as possible at the back.
“First of all, they try to be good defenders but they also create chances. In the last two games, against Hull and Burnley, they were decisive for the team.”
Thuram and Lizarazu were oustanding French fullbacks that helped France win the 1998 World Cup in Paris. Lizarazu, who spent much of his career at Bayern Munich, is regarded as one of the best attacking left backs of all time, and Thuram, who played for Juventus and Barcelona, is the most capped player in the history of France, with 142 appearances. Hugo knows his French footballers, and this is high praise.
The play of Walker and Rose has been exceptional this year, and strong cases can be made that both of them deserve player of the season for their performances thus far. Their ability to push forward into attacking positions and provide width and support for the inside forwards is critical to the success of Spurs’ tactics, and I’m hard pressed to think of Premier League fullbacks who are in better form than they are at the moment.