Who should be France’s “Number Three” Keeper?

Has Jeremie Janot made a case for being France's #3 keeper?

Of course, as we all know, positions in the French National Team, especially after the arrival of Laurent Blanc, can be like a game of musical chairs. Match after match, we could see different players. And, as of right now, anyone could have a chance to play on the World Cup team in 2014.

Even with this being said, the position of goalkeeper is pretty much set. Hugo Lloris continues to be the best keeper in France, and one of the best in the World. And honestly, after his exclusion by UEFA as a nominee for “2010 Team of the Year”, I would be upset if I were Hugo.

Still, he is the number one keeper for France.

France, as well, has a number two keepers. Yep, Cedric Carrasso. Carrasso has shown this year that he is easily deserving of the number two spot. And if he keeps playing like he has for Bordeaux this season, he could even challenge Lloris for the top position, considering Blanc is the coach. But I highly doubt that, and Blanc should consider such a move.

Of course, technically, Steve Mandanda is the second keeper for the French National Team. But as time passes, Mandanda looks worse and worse. He seems to be out of position more and more, as well as committing more errors than he did a few years ago. Therefore, should Mandanda be the third keeper for Laurent Blanc’s team?

Here are some possible choices for the third keeper for France:

Stephane Ruffier – Since Cedric Carrasso went down to injury in the World Cup, Ruffier has been considered the 4th keeper for the French National Team. And since then, he has been on Mandanda’s heals for that spot.

Ruffier is very much the opposite of Lloris. Whereas Lloris will take chances and come out of the net quite often, even if it gives French supporters heart attacks, Ruffier doesn’t and seems to me more comfortable being closer to the goal. And because he does play so far back, he has to have very strong reflexes. This is where he and Lloris do have something in common. Still, reflexes are only one part of the story. Unlike Lloris, who can make an amazing save and be back in position within a millisecond, Ruffier seems to be slower in some regards.

Even with a few flaws, Ruffier could become the next decent goalkeeper for France.  The only problem is that he doesn’t look like he will ever at the same level as Lloris when it comes to technical skills.

Jeremie Janot – This man isn’t called “Spiderman” for nothing. He is one of the most amazing keepers to watch in Ligue 1. If he is on the right post and an opposing player shoots toward the left post, he will get to that left post one way or another. His ability in this regard is amazing.

But his super-human ability can also cause errors. Like Lloris, he can recover well after making a save. The only problem is that because he tries to make “pretty” saves, he can be out of position for many rebounds. Luckily for Janot, he does deflect most rebounds in the right direction.

In addition to this, Janot does well on long-range shots. If you look at many of Janot’s saves, they seem to be from a longer distance. But when opposing offenses charge into the box, Janot doesn’t look as comfortable. He isn’t exactly the best corner kick keeper either. While Lloris comes out of his net to try to get the ball, Janot almost relies on his defenders to clear the ball for him. And if they don’t, Janot could be in trouble.

And, of course, we have to worry about Janot’s attitude. If Laurent Blanc has made one thing clear, it is that he doesn’t want any “hot-heads” on the French National Team. This continues to be a big problem for Janot.

Nicolas Douchez – Douchez has to be one of the smartest keepers in Ligue 1. He knows how to work with he defenders well. In addition, he is really good and reading opposing strikers. While he does have some amazing looking “lunging” saves, he has to be considered an all around solid keeper.

If there is anything that I can find wrong with Douchez, it is that he seems to play too conservative. While he might be smart at some things, I sometime question his positioning. During his time at both Rennes and Toulouse, he has let in a number of soft goals to the opposite post. Therefore, it seems like if you can go against the grain with Douchez, you have a better chance of scoring on him. But if you come straight on, forget about it.

Therefore, while he can be a solid performer, and smart as well, he can also be easily read and therefore easily beatable.

Mickael Landreau – Year after year, Landreau’s name comes up as a possible keeper for France. Sometimes it happens. Most of the time it doesn’t. Still, when talking about a third keeper for the French National Team, Landreau should also be considering one of the options for Blanc.

Out of all the keepers that we have mentioned previously, Landreau seems to me to be the one that is most similar to Hugo Lloris. He is good on corners and free kicks. In addition he does a great job of recovery after making a save. While his reflexes might not be cat-like like Lloris, they aren’t that far off.

Also, Landreau doesn’t mind taking a little bit of a risk. He does like to come out of his area sometime. Maybe he doesn’t do it as much as Lloris does, but he does it nonetheless. In Ligue 1, goalkeepers being afraid to take risks seems to be one of the problems. Yet if you look at the last two great keepers for France, Fabien Barthez and Lloris, they are willing to take risks. The only problems is that Lloris and Barthez seem to handle risky play a lot better than Landreau, which has been one of his downfalls throughout the years.

And, of course, there are others, including  Steve Mandanda.

Even with listing a number of quality keepers, this entire discussion doesn’t really mean anything. The chances of a third keeper playing in any major tournament is nearly zero. But still, even if that is the case, the team has to find a solid keeper for that position anyway.

And, as of right now, my pick for the job is Stephane Ruffier. Why? Age.

All the other keepers we talked about are over 30 years old. That is probably why Mandanda has been able to keep the job all for himself, because he is only 25. But if a youngster is able to challenge Mandanda for that third (or second) spot, right now, that would have to be Ruffier.

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5 Responses

  1. Talking about age, I think Sochaux 19 year old, Pierrick Cros, has impressed in the abscense of Teddy Richert. Cros has been starting the last six games, and only have conceeded 5 goals, including though games against Auxerre and Lyon. Sochaux now has 3 wins in a row, and this is much because of Cros performances at the back!

    Great prospect for the future!

    • Yeah, I need to start watching him. I mean, I really don’t get around to watching Sochaux, but I should get to it.

  2. I think much depends on how you look at your #3 keeper. Is it team spot for a veteran, someone who will know their role and be a good “dressing room” leader? Or do you look to leveraging that slot for a young prospect, an opportunity for the team and manager to look at a potential future keeper during training. I go with the latter. See how Landreau was the #3 early in his career and Mandanda was the same during the Euro 2008. With that in mind I would vote for Ruffier, at 24 he is at the start of his career. Not that Lloris, Carrasso or Mandanda are old!

    I would agree that Carrasso is earning his way to the #2 spot. I do think that Blanc might use the #3 slot to vet some future options, leaving the likes of Landreau out.

    • I agree. I would like to see Landreau because of the skill, but the age is too important of a factor right now.

  3. I’m with you regarding Ruffier. He made numerous incredible saves against OM last season.

    He blew it, though, when Le President called him up this year. Think Blanc could give him another chance?

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