Villa v Liverpool: Friedel - Guzan has huge future ahead of him
Brad Friedel believes his former understudy Brad Guzan can become a Barclays Premier League superstar.
Friedel has seen plenty of Guzan this season and has been both impressed and delighted for his stopping pal.
Now that Guzan has the gloves, Friedel insists he can keep hold of them permanently by continuing to put in superb stopping displays.
As his former clubs Villa and Liverpool get set for battle, Friedel said: "Brad can be Villa's goalkeeper for the next ten years, absolutely. It's entirely up to him by way of his performances.
"If he keeps playing like he has done this season, he could be Villa's goalkeeper for a long, long time.
"When you're a goalkeeper that's all you can ask. You can only ask to be in the team if your level of performance is consistently high.
"He knows that Villa is going to be a club with very good goalkeepers so he has to keep his performances up. That's the same with any big club.
"It's definitely the case at Villa with Shay on the books.
"But I think Brad can be one of the top goalkeepers in the Premier League. He has all the attributes to be.
"From what I have seen of Brad, I see a goalkeeper who can have many, many years ahead of him in the Premier League, which is great. It couldn't happen to a nicer guy."
Friedel remembers fondly training with Guzan during his time with Villa.
He insists he spotted very early on a young goalkeeper with immense potential.
Interestingly Friedel also says he saw his own signing as merely a stop-gap until Guzan was ready for the cut-and-thrust of the top-flight.
He continued: "When he first arrived, I spotted that he had things you just couldn't coach - bravery and a base of power and strength.
"That was instilled in him so there wasn't a whole lot of pushing you had to do. He is a self-motivated fellow too.
"We saw immediately what a great player he was when he stepped through the doors at Bodymoor Heath.
"I don't think the management staff signed him to be a No.2 for his entire stay. They bought him to groom him to be No.1.
"We signed at the same sort of time. They tried to get him the transfer window before but the permit wasn't forthcoming. When we signed together, I was 37-years-old.
"They were almost signing me a stop-gap while they groomed Brad for the long-term. It's now really nice to see him getting the chance.
"I loved training with him every day. He's a really good guy. Like every goalkeeper, you want to play the game.
"But I think he realised that it's not the other goalkeepers who pick the team. It's the management who pick the team. He had no animosity towards me.
"He always offered me encouragement. He's a really good guy and he's a good team-mate to everybody, whether goalkeepers or outfield players.
"You ask anyone who's been with Brad in his time with Villa and they'll be glowing in their praise."
Friedel knows all about Guzan's position as a fan-favourite and he believes that's down to two factors - fine performances and consistent commitment.
He added: "I think, especially at clubs like Villa with a big tradition, the fans understand football.
"They understand that Brad is out there doing his absolute best for the football club, week-in and week-out.
"They know that if he concedes a goal, he will be upset because he cares about the club. Fans know his reaction is not for show. He's a genuine person who really cares.
"He's a genuine competitor - fans pick up on that. I know the fans are fully behind him.
"He's an honest, hard-working guy and they respect that. They will also respect the fact that he'd bide his time to become No.1. That shows his commitment.
"He'll have had other offers through the years to go elsewhere but he chose to stay at Villa and fight for his place."
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