Legend Spink tells us about the night Guzan had him cursing
Nigel Spink remembers being impressed - and immensely gutted - when Brad Guzan helped Villa into the League Cup quarter-finals of 2009-10.
Spink, you see, was the Black Cats goalkeeping coach as the USA ace saved four penalties - three in a shoot-out and one in normal time - to ensure the claret and blues safe passage at the Stadium of Light.
Villa's European Cup hero of 1982, working under Steve Bruce on Wearside at the time, admits that while he was appreciative of the shot-stopper for his heroics, it's only now that he can fully admire the 27-year-old's class.
Spink met up with Guzan at Bodymoor Heath this month to have hand casts done for use in the Villa Park heritage zone as a new feature in our stadium tours.
And he told us: "I was goalkeeping coach at the time, yes.
"It was difficult to appreciate what he had done when your own salary is reliant on it. I was cursing him but, of course, I was also very impressed with him.
"He is just an excellent goalkeeper. I have seen more of him since I have been out of the game.
"He is doing brilliantly. I have been really impressed. He has been tremendous.
"I remember seeing him - behind Shay Given and Brad Friedel - in League Cup action, getting experience that way.
"Since becoming No.1 he's been excellent.
"His attitude is first-class. He trains hard and his performances have been excellent.
"In what has been an up and down season so far, he's been consistent. That speaks volumes.
"When the team is up and down, that's the hardest time to perform.
"From my own experience, he must keep his focus on his own performance, rather than being too anxious about the performance of the whole team.
"Now goalkeepers are more involved with the outfield because of the change of rules with the backpass. But it's still very much an isolated position.
"His focus must not come away from his own performance."
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