Holy: Pluses and Minuses to Being World's Third Tallest Keeper
Monday, 19th Aug 2019 17:41
Giant goalkeeper Tomas Holy – 6ft 9ins tall in his size 12 boots – makes sure he is sleeping in the biggest bed available to ensure a good night’s rest.
Holy laughed: “I have a super king size bed but it is still not as big as the one I had back home. That one was 2.2 metres (7ft 2ins) long and I had to wait a month to have it specially made for me.
“There is a nice story my girlfriend told me because I ordered my bed from IKEA and I was at training when the guy delivered it to my apartment.
“She opened the door and he asked her if there might be a mistake with the order. He was worried he had got it wrong, but she assured him it was correct and said ‘If you saw my boyfriend you would never ask again’.”
But Holy admits his impressive physique, in particular his height which makes him the third tallest professional goalkeeper in the world, is not in his favour all the time. “There are always going to be pluses and minuses,” he added.
“Maybe smaller goalkeepers are faster than I am, they have better feet and they are quicker to get down to low shots.
“But I have an obvious advantage in the air and I am stronger too. I work on all the minus things with my coach but maybe the reason I wanted to try English football is that it is more physical and there are more crosses into the box compared to the more technical style in, say, Spain or Portugal. I feel I am in the right place to be playing.”
Some Town fans, quick to observe the huge distance covered by his goal-kicks, have even been reviewing the odds on Holy to score a goal this season. Asked if he thought it might be possible, he responded: “To be fair I thought about it when I was at Gillingham.
“We had a run of games when we didn’t win any, and hardly even scored, and I was thinking ‘What can I do? Should I try to score?’ Then I decided it was not my job and to just concentrate on being a goalkeeper. My job is to keep the ball out of our goal, not to put it in the other team’s goal.”
But Sunderland boss Jack Ross dwelled on Holy’s kicking when briefing his players ahead of the recent 1-1 draw at Portman Road and the keeper added: “It’s a natural thing but in the pre-season game at Colchester we had a goal-kick and the boss said ‘Kick it as far as you can’.
"So I tried and the ball landed in the opposition goalkeeper’s area and the boss said ‘This is going to be our weapon, do it every kick’ and I said ‘Okay, will do’.
“But I don’t mind if we try to play out from the back either. Actually, I like it and I prefer it to just taking long goal-kicks every single time. The thing is, sometimes I have no other option but to kick it long.
“When I signed here the gaffer asked me about the difference between Ipswich and Gillingham. I told him one of the biggest differences is to do with ambitions and targets.
“I love to play for someone who has ambitions and high targets – playing for something – and to get back to the Championship is, for me at the moment, the biggest target of my whole career so far.”
Holy took up goalkeeping seriously in his early teenage years and explained: “I would say I was 13 or 14 at the time. Before that, from the age of nine or ten, I was a defender or midfield player but I didn’t find it easy to cope with the training and struggled physically. I was getting too big for that position.
“I knew I couldn’t do it any more so I decided to give up and become a goalkeeper. I had tried it when I was younger and thought it was too boring for me but after four years or so of being an outfield player I decided I would be a goalkeeper forever. I think it was a good decision.”
Holy played 107 times for Gillingham, actually being signed by ex-Norwich defender Adrian Pennock, who hails from Ipswich, has always supported Town and was manager of the Kent club at the time. He is now coaching DPMM, a club in Brunei who play in the Singapore Premier League.
He recalled how he made the switch to England: “I had an international team-mate when we were 16 or 17, David Balda, who went on to become an agent. We met up, I said I would like to try English football and he just said ‘Okay, let’s do it’.
“So my agent is also my friend. He finished his career when he was only 19 or 20 and he works for a company in London, World in Motion, which has staff all over the world. David was at Leicester’s academy when he was younger but took the decision to become an agent.”
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