Brad Guzan is acutely aware of the difficulty in competing with Friedel after
three seasons spent as his understudy at
Lloris was a £12 million summer signing from Lyon but has made only two appearances for Tottenham, both in the Europa League. Manager Andre Villas-Boas has been constantly forced to defend his decision to play a goalkeeper who last season became the oldest player to feature in the Premier League.
Friedel, 41, is expected to make his 321st consecutive top-flight appearance against Villa on Sunday afternoon, with Lloris starting on the bench. Guzan was in a similar situation after his £600,000 arrival at Villa from Chivas USA in August 2008. He made only sporadic appearances in cup competitions and failed to start a league game while Friedel was at the club.
As Guzan prepares to face his old training partner, he is not expecting Friedel to relinquish his place any time soon. “His record of consecutive games speaks for itself,” Guzan said. “He’s not been out for so many years, and that’s testament to the way he is as a professional and keeping himself in good shape.
“What he is doing at his age is remarkable. Is that bad news for Hugo Lloris? Yes, maybe. If you look at Brad’s performances, he’s been fantastic for them, making good saves, helping them pick up points along the way and when that happens it’s hard for a manager.
“He’s always fit, always ready, and always puts in a good performance. At times it was frustrating for me because everybody wants to play. That’s why you come to training in the week so you can play on the weekends and perform in front of the fans. But it was nice to see the goalkeeper doing what he’s been doing for so long.”
While Guzan struggled to dislodge Friedel, the 28 year-old’s role has changed in recent weeks after Paul Lambert chose him ahead of another veteran in Shay Given.
That represents a significant turnaround for Guzan, who had left Villa in the summer after his contract expired before Lambert convinced him to agree a new deal. He is poised to make his fifth successive appearance in the league. “As a goalkeeper you always want to be playing games and it’s been a good run for me,” he said. “There’s going to be ups and downs. We’re all trying to come together and there’s going to be some bumps along the road.
“If we can have more positive performances than not then it will be OK. We are going in the right direction, and if we have everyone pulling in the right direction then good things will happen.”