It was a year ago next weekend that Heurelho Gomes put the ball into his own net in a 2-1 defeat against Fulham. His confidence was shot, the crowd were on his back and his new manager, Harry Redknapp, had doubts about the man Juande Ramos had bought from PSV Eindhoven.
What a difference a year makes. By the end of Saturday's man-of-the-match display against Sunderland, Gomes had the fans, and his manager, eating out of his hands.
"Early on I thought he'd been a great keeper on the Continent but maybe he's not for England," said Redknapp. "The crowd slaughtered him [after the Fulham game]. He was having a bad time. Everyone must have had doubts. But his reputation was top-class and Guus Hiddink thought he was world-class, as did everyone who had worked with him. He's shown that now and he looks a fantastic goalkeeper."
Gomes kept out Darren Bent's penalty six minutes into the second half as Tottenham, 1-0 up through Robbie Keane, struggled to contain Sunderland. He saved at Keiran Richardson's feet shortly after receiving treatment and twice denied Steed Malbranque, and Bent once more.
Bruce felt Gomes should not have been on the pitch to save Bent's penalty: "It was a straight red," he argued, and he responded strongly to Garth Crooks' comments on the BBC that Bent had dived to earn the spot-kick. "That's absolute crap," stormed Bruce. "He used to play here, didn't he? Enough said."
Tom Huddlestone scored Spurs' second goal after 68 minutes with a fine strike after good work from Jermain Defoe, two Englishmen striving to impress the watching Fabio Capello ahead of the friendly with Brazil. Alas, it was a goalkeeper not favoured by the Brazilians who stole the show.
Tottenham (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Woodgate, King (Dawson 59), Assou-Ekotto; Jenas, Huddlestone, Palacios, Keane (Kranjcar 63); Crouch, Defoe. Substitutes not used: Alnwick, Hutton, Bale, Bentley, Pavlyuchenko.
Sunderland (4-4-2): Gordon (Fulop 66); Bardsley (Ferdinand 77), Turner, Da Silva, McCartney; Henderson, Richardson, Reid, Malbranque (Healy 77); Bent, Campbell.
Substitutes not used: Nosworthy, Murphy, Meyler, Reed.
Booked: Tottenham Gomes Sunderland Turner, Henderson.
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).
Man of the match: Gomes.
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