Brad Friedel Exclusive Interview with OLBG (Updated June 2023)

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OLBG speaks exclusively to Brad Friedel. Former professional soccer goalkeeper who made over 500 domestic league appearances for Liverpool, Blackburn, Aston Villa and Tottenham in England after leaving Columbus Crew in 1997, after arriving from Galatasaray in Turkey. Friedel went on to make 82 full appearances for the USA internationally.

Brad Friedel Exclusive Interview with OLBG (Updated June 2023)
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Messi to Inter Miami is 1,000 times bigger than Beckham’s 2007 move, Man Utd and Chelsea should target MLS goalkeeper and Lucas Moura would make a great signing for Aston Villa

Speaking to OLBG, ex-Tottenham goalkeeper and US legend Brad Friedel gives his take on Lionel Messi’s blockbuster move to Inter Miami, the MLS goalkeeper he thinks is good enough to start for Manchester United and how Tottenham star Lucas Moura would make a good signing for Aston Villa.

Friedel also believes Harry Kane will remain at Tottenham, although Real Madrid would be his most realistic option should Daniel Levy decide to sell.

Q. What kind of impact will Lionel Messi have on the MLS and Inter Miami’s fortunes?

Edwardpino, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

BF: “On and off the field are two different things with Messi, and they are both going to be huge. When I was coaching at New England, DC United were rock bottom, they looked down and out. Then they signed Rooney, hardly lost a game all season and qualified for the play-offs. That is the kind of impact Messi can have on the field.

“Yes Messi is older, but what a magnificent player. This is the biggest signing in MLS history. MLS has done a lot of good things and people can argue about the salary caps, but without diving into the finances of the league they had to do what they had to do to survive. They have made some incredible strides. 

“Pele was one, the way he all of a sudden put US soccer on the map out of nowhere. The signing of Beckham was remarkable, he was a great ambassador off the field with all the supporters, media etc. His impact over here was enormous, it really helped with MLS in a global mindset more than any other foreigners before him.

“Take Messi, and that is going to be multiplied by 1,000. Inter Miami are building a new stadium, but right now their stadium has 18,000 and it’s open on the sides with very little security. I don’t think they are prepared. I saw a game the other day and it was the first time I had seen media companies on the sidewalks, filming the stadiums over Messi arriving. They are in for not a rude awakening but an incredible experience, they are going to have to sort out issues like security.

“Ticket sales have gone through the roof, from $29 a seat to over $400 a seat now. So commercially this will knock it out of the park as long as he stays fit, when he goes to other stadiums they will be full, the public is going to love him here.”

Q. Do you think Messi will turn around Inter Miami’s fortunes on the pitch?

Tasnim News Agency, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

BF: “I think Messi will turn around Inter Miami’s fortunes on the pitch, as long as they don’t drift too far from the play-offs by the time he arrives. As long as they stay in that six to nine point area then I see them qualifying for the play-offs once he gets there. They are currently 11 points off but have two games in hand.

“They were under sanctions, but they come off next season, so it will be their first season without sanctions. Right now they have to get rid of a designated player to sign Messi because they have three on their books already. In July the transfer window opens up. 

“Unless these players linked with moves there accept less money, they can’t come while they have their maximum designated player slots available. It’s fine to be linked with names, some may stick, some may have been contacted, but it’s not as simple as that to sign these players because of the rules. All of their signings will also be under a microscope. The entire league has pitched in to bring Messi here, but for other players it’s not going to be as simple as that.”

Q. What standard of English football would you compare the MLS to right now?

BF: “It’s really hard to compare the MLS to any standard of English football because the style is so different. The Championship for example is a midweek to weekend slog throughout the season, especially in those dreary winter months. They are percentage games, it’s a test of endurance over a 46-match season. There are some great teams in the Championship.

“But over here it’s a melting pot of cultures, there are a lot of players from central and south America. You have a lot of players raised in America, in Florida, Texas and southern California, which is very Latin based in culture and style of football. So it would be easier to compare it to Portugal or a Spanish style of football. Spain might be a better comparison, so I would say it’s like La Liga 2. But we’re getting better and better. 

“Inter have some good players, even if they have had a difficult season. Leonardo Campana is a good player, Ian Fray is good, Gregore is good. But if you sprinkle in a Messi and maybe two others, you have a team that is very good. Not many will stop Messi. The better teams have figured out how to keep their best players and use their allocation money the wisest. 

“In the academies there are some really good players coming through, and we finally have a really decent foot in the transfer market. Plus clubs are selling too, you can’t just buy, you have to sell well.”

Q. Is there anyone in the MLS you think should be on the radar of top-six clubs in the Premier League?

BF: “I think Djordje Petrovic should be on the radar of Premier League clubs. He could start right now for pretty much any team in Europe, although he has a learning curve of course. From what I have seen of him, there has been no better goalkeeper in MLS for a long time. New England are second in the Eastern Conference, they have Carles Gil and Petrovic. If you take those two out of the team they would struggle winning games, they are that influential.

“So at Inter Miami if you bring in Messi you have a very good opportunity. They have a very good goalkeeper too in Drake Callender, you sprinkle in a couple more and you have a team that might not lose for 10 games. The teams are so close, and it’s usually that ingredient of who is going to really help the team, and who is just over for the money.”

Q. Chelsea and Man Utd are being linked with goalkeepers. Should they consider Petrovic and is he good enough to start for them?

BF: “I think Petrovic is good enough to start for Man Utd and Chelsea. People are talking about Man Utd’s goalkeeper situation a lot, but I’m not sure they have the budget right now for the keepers being mentioned in the papers. That’s another reason why Raya has not moved as of yet. When you have a year left on your contract, there are not that many people who can afford that kind of money when you can get them in 12 months time.”

Q. Jordan Pickford, Andre Onana and Raya have all been linked with Man Utd. Of those three, who do you think would be best suited to Man Utd?

BF: “I think from Jordan Pickford, Andre Onana and David Raya, Raya would be best suited to Man Utd. 

“I’m not going to be one to disparage David de Gea. What I will say is that we all age, and De Gea has been one of the best keepers the Premier League has seen. He was in the argument for being the best goalkeeper in the league for many, many years. Just because a goalkeeper starts to get a little bit older does not mean we need to be making comments on who will be an improvement, we all age out. 

“At this stage De Gea needs to understand he’ll have competition for his place wherever he is. If he wants to be at a top team winning trophies, there is going to be another young goalkeeper the club hopes will do better than him because it makes the squad better. Man Utd are probably nearing that decision time. 

“Man Utd will probably have a certain budget, and will think are we going to use this to get someone to replace De Gea? I assume the answer is maybe. I assume they will keep him as a number one for a number of years, but if the other guy they sign comes in and beats him out, he’ll be their number one.”

Q. Reports this morning suggest your old club Tottenham are going to have a summer clearout, with Huge Lloris, Lucas Moura and Ivan Perisic rumoured to be on their way out. Would any Spurs players make good signings for top-six clubs, or your old club Aston Villa?

BF: “Lucas Moura is only 30, I like him. He can do a good job for pretty much anyone. The bigger the club, the more he may have to come off the bench which he won’t want to do, because he was doing that for Tottenham. He understands the Premier League and he is well liked by everyone there, so he would be a great team guy.

“I think he could start for Aston Villa in games. I’ve only been able to watch and admire Unai Emery’s teams play, but I’ve never seen him in training and seen his group dynamic, so I’m not sure exactly how he works, I just know his teams are very good and successful. 

Image: skysports

“When you’re recruiting players, there’s a lot more to factor in than if they are simply a good player. So he and they would be doing their homework to see if he would fit into the whole group dynamic. He is one player I could see going to and fitting in to other Premier League clubs. Just like with the goalkeeper, Vicaro linked to Tottenham, adaptation to the Premier League is not always a certainty. 

“So with a player like Moura, it’s a certainty he can play in the Premier League, you know he can.”

Q. Jamie Carragher recently expressed concerns about the number of players moving to Saudi Arabia. Do you share those concerns?

“I am not concerned by players going to Saudi Arabia, I see it as a challenge for the Premier League. If people want to try and create a league, fair play to them. One of the biggest difficulties they will run into is creating a history and tradition that Premier League clubs have created, along with La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1

“It’s really hard to replicate the deep traditions over a hundred years, with family fan bases and roots into history. Then you add the financial machine that the Premier League is. One problem the Saudi league has, and the MLS will run into this too although maybe there are ways to get around it, is that the Champions League is still the ultimate club competition in the world.

“I guess it is similar to the PGA golf scenario with LIV. They are doing a deal to come back together. The Premier League is the most fun league to play at in the world, in my opinion. And the best club competition by a mile is still the Champions League, and I think that pull will still keep the absolute top players in their prime in European competition. What players in their prime are in Saudi? 

“Bernardo Silva is 28. Until they can take a 19 to 24 year old and come on top of a transfer where Real Madrid, Man Utd and Manchester City are bidding, and he chooses to go to Saudi, then I don’t see the league rivalling the Premier League.”

Q. Is Real Madrid the only realistic option for Harry Kane?

Photo: Shutterstock/ph.FAB

“The only realistic option for Harry Kane to go is if Daniel Levy says he can leave. Daniel will decide whether or not Kane leaves. I was at the club when two players walked in and said I want to leave, including Luka Modric, and Levy told them to get out. 

“I think Daniel would be more willing to deal with a foreign club. I’m not sure Real Madrid’s president wants to negotiate with Daniel for another player who has a year left on his contract. Kane himself is such a good club guy, even if he goes in and says he'd like to go to Real, it doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. There is only one person who knows if they will allow him to go and that’s Daniel, he’ll set a price and clubs he will and won’t sell to. 

“I would find it strange if he allowed a sale to another Premier League club right now after all their turmoil with Antonio Conte. Think about all the negativity for the months leading up to Conte’s departure, then he goes and they have no coach, then the sporting director was banned. They were in fourth position and then they finished eighth, they fell out of European places. 

“I think the hiring of Ange Postecoglou is excellent, his style of football is tremendous. But does Daniel want Kane to leave after all that? I would say no and would expect Kane to be at Tottenham this season.”

Q. Do you think the US will retain their WWC title next month?

BF: “Women’s football has become bigger and stronger all over the globe, so I hope the US women win it. England, France, Spain and Germany will all have a say. It’s not a guarantee, but I’ll put the US as favourites because they are good. Every WWC, probably in the next 12 to 16 years, I think the US women will be there or thereabouts as favourites. 

“I’ll have the US as favourites but I would not be surprised if someone else wins. The women’s game is getting far more competitive and has been for many years, so this is not a walk in the park for the US.”

Brad Friedel on Gareth Bale's Retirement Annoucement

We caught up with Brad after his former team mate Gareth Bale's announcement of retirement from professional soccer at a young age.

Where does Gareth Bale rank among the best footballers you’ve played with?

Gareth Bale is up there with the best I’ve ever played with. Luka and him, although different players. Gheorghe Hagi as well, I’d put a touch above them, but right up there. Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, Andy Cole as well, but Gareth was phenomenally good.

Other than Ronaldo and Messi there was no one better in the world towards the end of his time at Tottenham Hotspur and at Real Madrid. He was big, powerful, good in the air and with a great left foot. He had everything and he was one of the very best I’ve ever shared a pitch with.

What was it like training with him?

Gareth Bale lifted the level of everyone around him. He’s a very mellow, nice guy. There’s nothing to dislike about him. He kept himself fit, although he had a sprinters' body so he did have a few injuries which was a shame. He had a really powerful sprint. 

But those injuries were not because he didn’t live his life right, he lived his life perfectly well, although some coaches may say he liked golf a bit too much! I think you’d have to make a lot of phone calls to find someone with something bad to say about him.

Was he the quickest you played against?

Gareth Bale was one of the more powerful runners, I would say, but at Tottenham I’m not sure he was faster than Kyle Walker. And over long distances, before his knee problems, Younes Kaboul was fast. People would be surprised about that. Over short distances, Aaron Lennon, that team had some real pace.

Who wins a 100m sprint race?

Over 100m, Lennon would be third, over 40m Lennon might be first. Over 100m, I’d probably just pick Walker, maybe. That would be one hell of a race.

Does he belong in the conversation of being the best British players ever?

Gareth Bale is without a doubt one of the best British players ever. He defied the odds when he was in positions you didn’t think he’d get out of, and he’d score. He can play possession, he was good in the air, he could drive with the ball for 70 yards. He had a great strike. He was among the best. 

Brad Friedel ON the World Cup

The World Cup is around the corner, and you have experience of going to two of them. How do you think the USA will fare in this tournament and will there be any torn loyalty considering England are in their group?

I'll have no torn loyalty; I'll want the United States to win obviously but I'll want both England and the US to get out of the group if that's any consolation to English fans. I think of the two nations England have the better chance between the two to win the World Cup. But if we have all of our players fit which looks touch and go ahead of the tournament then we'll be difficult to play against for anybody.

Erik Drost, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

What does next year hold for Christian Pulisic, will a good World Cup encourage him to push for a new club or boost his Chelsea chances?

I don't think a good World Cup boosts his Chelsea chances. With Thomas Tuchel and now Graham Potter, they get to see what he does every day, so by him performing well in front the staff and playing well in the matches is what will boost his chances there.

In regard to the US, it's vital that he plays well because he's one of our best players. A move away is a tricky one for clubs, normally you wouldn't want to purchase someone on the back of a good World Cup. However, with somebody like Christian Pulisic, people will already know what he can bring from his time at Borussia Dortmund and now Chelsea. So, if he does have a good run, it could change some things for him, but then you have to consider that the January transfer window is a tough time to get deals done.

Let's put it this way, it never hurts to perform well at any time. I don't know if Christian Pulisic wants to leave or wants to stay and fight for his place or what Graham Potter's plans are for him. But having a good World Cup won't hurt on all fronts.

Is Christian Pulisic wasted as a wing-back at Chelsea and does he need to leave to fulfill his potential?

I don't think it's respectful for me to say it's a waste of his talent or something like that because there's a new manager that's gone into a club who is trying to implement a style with players that aren't his. Maybe he sees something in Christian Pulisic and other players for that matter in different positions.

I don't think waste is a word I would use, but I think if you want to deploy Christian as a wing-back, then it will take some time for him to get used to the role. It's a completely different role from what he's been used to doing and as a wing-back you are called upon to defend quite a bit within matches. That would be another area where Christian would have to get used to it rather than pressing higher up the pitch. Sometimes you can be in a one v two situation because you get overloaded on the wing.

I think if Graham Potter wants to play him there, then it would take some time for him to get used to that role. Then you have to take on board, would a player want to take on that role having never done it before in his career. Depending on what formation you play I think he needs to play in an attacking sense on the left or the right for me. You could put him as a number 10 if it suits, but I don't think as an out-and-out striker is where we would see him, but definitely in an attacking role.

Martin Årseth, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

For Graham Potter it's never easy taking over without a pre-season and it's not easy when you have large numbers in a squad. It's going to take Graham Potter some time to figure out where he wants to put players in his plans. I don't think it's wrong that Graham Potter is trying different scenarios because he has to do it trial by error in matches. Since he's taken over it's virtually been a match every three or four days.

Looking ahead to the World Cup, what American players are ones to keep an eye on for England and Wales?

Weston McKennie, if fit because he took a little knock, but he is an exceptionally talented player in the middle of the field. Yunus Musah is another who is exceptionally talented in that position as well and Tyler Adams is very important for the US with his energy. I think it's essential that we have the likes of Giovanni Reyna fit because he's a very good player. I also think it's important that a player like Timothy Weah is fit, he's another who's had injury problems.

Even if he doesn't start from the get-go and if somebody like Luca de la Torre is injured, then we're going to need some players that provide a spark off the bench. Obviously Christian Pulisic as well, he's an incredibly important for us. Sergino Dest has taken a little knock as well, so I'm just reading reports right now and I don't know how bad any of these are, so we'll have to wait and see. But if everybody is fit, then we can be a force to be reckoned with.

Christian Pulisic is someone to keep an eye on in this tournament, then as I mentioned the likes of Giovanni Reyna, Timothy Weah, Yunus Musah, Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams. There's Brenden Aaronson as well, he's been performing very well at Leeds United so he could have more of a breakthrough moment on a global stage.  

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You worked with Matt Turner when in charge of New England Revolution. Could you see his talent back then? Is he capable of being Arsenal's No1? Where would you like to see him improve?

I made a comment at a press conference that I felt he was good enough to be in the National team and I got criticized heavily for making the comment. Lots of people like to jump on things that aren't up front and center, but it's different when you see things every day. Matt is one of the top out-and-out shot-stoppers out there.

Listen Ramsdale is an excellent goalkeeper and he's obviously Arsenal's number one goalkeeper right now. So, can Matt Turner become the number one someday at Arsenal? Sure. Will it happen whilst Arsenal are sitting top of the table and Ramsdale is playing the way he is? I'm not so sure.

We'll have to wait and see how that unfolds, but Matt Turner is a really talented kid and if he doesn't get himself as a number one at Arsenal, then I hope some sort of deal can be done. Whether it be a loan or something of that nature or a sale where he can go to a top club and play. He has the ability to be a number one at a top club.

Auston Trusty is flying at Birmingham City. Any surprise with how well he's done? Do you agree with Birmingham manager John Eustace when he says he will definitely be an Arsenal player when he goes back?

Auston is someone I coached, and I think he's a great kid, he's one of those players that you want to see do really well. He turns up every day in training with a smile on his face and works hard, so I'm delighted that he's doing so well at Birmingham. To make a comment that he's definitely going to be an Arsenal player, I think those are questions for Mikel Arteta. All I can tell you is what I know about him and what Mikel Arteta would get.

He'll get an honest day’s work no matter what, he'll get a player who's really good in the air and physically competitive. He's a very good one v one defender, it's not easy to turn him. He's left-footed which helps a lot because there's a lack of left footed centre backs.

If you play with three at the back, he can play on that left-hand side or in the centre. If you play with four, he can play left centre back or even at left-back he can fill in, so he's quite versatile. He's in this group of players that I've coached that if any of them make it to the top, then I'd like it to be him. He's such a good guy so I hope he becomes an Arsenal player if that's what he wants and if he can displace somebody in a team that's doing really well.

I think he's one of those players who deserves any sort of accolades, contracts or trophies because he's a great all-round kid. 

What about Zack Steffen at Man City? He's 27 now, when his loan with Middlesbrough ends should he go back to City or look for a permanent move?

Yes, he should look for that move. I think if you asked him, I don't know if he could say it publicly, but he would agree. Ederson is one of the best goalkeepers globally and unless there's a long-term injury then nobody is going to play ahead of him at the moment. Manchester City are an incredible club with a great coach and great players, but at Zack's age he needs consistent football. I think it was smart to go out on loan this season right before a World Cup. But I think he should look elsewhere, it's not easy to leave but I left Liverpool.

It's not easy to leave these huge clubs, but if you're not playing you've got to go play somewhere else. 

James Boyes, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Can you tell us much about Orlando City star Facundo Torres who Arsenal are said to be interested in signing? Would he be a good addition for the Gunners in the second half of the season if they are still pushing for the title?

He's a star over here with a really good left foot. In the final third he holds a special quality in being able to unlock defenses, he has very good vision and a decent strike on him. Some players go to the Premier League and do incredibly well right away and with other players it takes a little time as we all know. The physicality could be a little bit of an issue for him at first in the Premier League, but I think he could get used to it.

He's a good player, I don't know him personally so I don't know if he would want to go be a squad player when he's a star somewhere else. But it's also really difficult to turn down Premier League football and if reports are accurate then it would be Premier League football with the team in first position right now. It'll be an interesting one to watch and to see unfold. Games at the Emirates where Arsenal would be on top of a lot of teams in terms of possession, then he'd be very good. Just because he has that final pass or the final cross and really good link up play.

Mikel Arteta's business recently since going in and revamping the club, he hasn't got too many wrong, so he obviously see's something in him if reports are accurate.

Credit: MDI / Shutterstock.com

Liverpool and Man Utd are among the sides said to be tracking Chicago Fire’s Jhon Duran – is he ready to make the move to the Premier League?

He's young but he has all the attributes to succeed. He's powerful, fast, can hold the ball up and has an eye for a goal. He would have quite a bit to learn of course but he has the profile for Premier League football. He plays in a nation where their top players will play for big clubs and he's in the squad for Colombia. So, I could see that happening, I can see teams being interested in him.

I'm not sure if you'd have to purchase him and have him do a season or two on loan somewhere which might be the case. But he has something in his repertoire for sure. 

What's going wrong at Tottenham, why do they keep starting slow and will they finish in the top four?

It could cost them in the top four race, but that second half performance against Liverpool was remarkable. They played really well, and they deserved at least a draw out of it. Liverpool played really well in the first half, and it was a game between two really good teams and good to watch.

Tottenham couldn't get the second goal which was down to some really good defending, really good goalkeeping and being unlucky at times. I think what Antonio Conte has done since he's gone in is really good and very positive. You see every time they do go down that he gets a reaction out of the players, it shows the players are well and truly behind the manager.

They have some injury issues up front at the moment, when Kulusevski came in he helped changed the game. I thought Antonio Conte made good changes by pushing Eric Dier a bit further forward which helped to pin Liverpool back.I don't see them as struggling at the moment, I really don't.

Antonio Conte's teams are battling teams and they always have been. When you don't have Son fit, when you haven't had Kulusevski fit and Richarlison is out, then it's a big part of your attacking force missing. I hope from the outside looking in that Antonio Conte signs a contract and stays there. I hope the board work with him to bring the players he wants into the club and if they do they'll have a really successful run.

A trend like going behind in games is a worry, but I'm sure he'll be going to his staff how can we stop this? Maybe they might be a club who benefits from this World Cup break a little bit to stop that trend. It's nothing that they would want, and the goals are coming in all different ways whether it be good play from the opposition or an individual error when they're going behind.

So, I don't think it's part of the set up or anything Conte is doing, it's just one of those things that's hard to put your finger on.

Does Antonio Conte need to change his philosophy/system to get Tottenham firing?

I don't think he needs to change anything as far as systems go. He's been a winner everywhere he's gone, so his systems are proven to work.

You can't account for some things like the second goal against Liverpool. I've played with Eric Dier and it's such a strange goal and mistake for him to make with his head. You can't legislate for that happening and I'm not sure that will ever happen again in Eric's career. You know it's just one of those things and then they find themselves down 2-0. But when they came out in the second half, they were outstanding, and Liverpool couldn't breathe for the first 10 minutes.

They were getting chance after chance after chance, so the players are right there behind the manager and the players have a lot of quality.

Do you believe Antonio Conte will sign a new deal at Tottenham, and should Harry Kane depart in 2023?

The future of any player has nothing to do with the manager at Tottenham, it has to do with Daniel Levy and the board. When Daniel feels it's time to sell a player, then the player will be sold. I think Daniel has done a magnificent job at the club and they run it under a certain structure which they stick to. A player like Harry Kane would probably prefer Antonio Conte to stay, but the coming and going of players doesn't mean as much for a manager, it's more of a board decision at Tottenham.

I'm a firm believer that when you have one of the world's best in your building, then you want to keep them for a long time. That's just because they're one of the best for a reason. If they're able to get players in for his system and you keep over three, four, five or six transfer windows then you can really build something.

I would like to think that Daniel Levy and Antonio Conte can work together to build that over time. There is a financial structure at Tottenham, and they'll have to work through that. There are so many players that could come in and it's not as if it's small money, so they can get good players in.

Doha Stadium Plus Qatar, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Should Hugo Lloris' contract be renewed by Spurs at the end of the season? Why?

Yes, I do because you know what you get with Hugo. He's a leader, he's a very fit individual and mentally it's down to him and how long he wants to keep playing football. He has quite a few more years at the highest level in him. There aren’t too many goalkeepers around the world where you know exactly what you're going to get all of the time.

Alisson and Ederson are in that bracket, then the likes of Oblak and Neuer as well. They'll make the odd mistake of course, but the next minute you don't even realise they made that mistake because they're back to normal.

When you have a goalkeeper like that and they're still fit, then they can still carry on at a high level and you keep them. That's not a position that you want to continuously want to keep trying to change. If they can come to terms on an agreement, I would try to sign him immediately.

You kept Hugo Lloris out of the first team when he initially arrived at Tottenham. Does Lloris have the strength of character to do the same if Tottenham sign a replacement?

Yeah, I think so, Manchester United did it with De Gea and he's first choice again. Hugo Lloris will be fine with competition and if for some reason someone came in and displaced him as number one, then I'm sure a lot of suiters out there would come in for him, so I don't think there would be a problem.

There are so many great goalkeepers around the world these days, who do you enjoy watching and is there any of them you can relate to?

The two in the Premier League that I love watching are Ederson and Alisson, I wouldn't want to be Brazil's coach having to choose between the two of them. It's very rare that I want to turn on a TV and watch how a goalkeeper plays with his feet and that's what happens when Manchester City play. Ederson can play as the 11th man as a defender at the back, and he has such confidence on the ball. But then he has such range on his passing as well so you can't just go and close in on him.

Alisson is a bit more traditional in a sense, he still takes the odd risk or two at his feet, but he's a little bit more of a traditional goalkeeper. He looks more like the English type of goalkeeper with his shot stopping in comparison to Ederson. But they're both really fun to watch and both really good goalkeepers. Over the years, I've really liked watching Jan Oblak because he's been tremendous.

Steindy (talk) 10:35, 27 June 2011 (UTC), CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Manuel Neuer goes without saying and I like what Courtious has done because he was a bit of a start-stop at Chelsea. Last season's run in the Champions League was second to none, he was tremendous in that competition. There's a lot of good goalkeepers out there, but in the Premier League, which is where I watch most of my football, I like watching those two.

I always think something special is going to happen.

In 2012 you became Spurs’ oldest player to appear in a competitive match. Alongside that you amassed 450 Premier League appearances. What kept you going and what was the highlight of your Premier League career?

The highlight of my career was probably the time I got my work permit because we didn't have a professional league over here and it was hard to get a work permit. That's probably the biggest turning point in my career. I had good genes I guess because I didn't carry too many injuries in my career. As a goalkeeper, mentally if you want to keep playing then you can do.

Edwin Van der Sar played into his 40s and Gianluigi Buffon is of course still playing. Many can play into their 40s if they really want to, you just have to keep yourself fit, a low body fat and generally look after yourself. It's the knee injuries, the hips and the shoulders that if you keep those at bay then you can carry on for long periods of times. We pound our bodies a little bit, but we don't have to run the kilometres that the outfield players do.

It's more of short spurts and if you can endure those injuries and with more education on concussions nowadays, if you can stay clear of that as well then you can carry on well into your 40s at high levels.

Are Liverpool back in the top four race after their win over Spurs, and do you believe they'll finish in the top four?

I think they were always in the top four race. Yes, they haven't been at their best of course, but they have one of the best squads in Europe and one of the best managers and staff in Europe. I think the World Cup break will do them a world of good whereas I think it will hurt other clubs.

It's unprecedented with the World Cup in the winter, but I do think last season fighting for four trophies really took a mental fatigue on the team and a physical fatigue as well. Yeah, they're going to have some bodies going to the World Cup, but having this little break will do them a world of good. I think we'll see a far more consistent Liverpool after the World Cup when the Premier League commences again. 

Jamie Carragher recently criticized Liverpool's 'Plan A or nobody' approach to signing players. Do you agree with him?

I will not question anything that Jurgen Klopp has done if I'm being honest. If you look at the club from the day he took over to today, then what is there to criticise. They've had a start-stop season with injuries and things of that nature.

Overall, their approach in the transfer window has been really good and they've assembled one of the best squads in Europe. I will not be one to question how they go about their business in the transfer market.

What is the bare minimum that Unai Emery should be looking to achieve at Aston Villa?

Aston Villa is a fantastic club; it really is and a club like Villa should be in the top 10 for Unai Emery. He knows the Premier League of course, so that's going to be a big bonus. The January transfer windows are so difficult and hopefully he can bring in one or two that fit what he wants in a squad and in a system.

In the summer transfer window, it'll be interesting because Aston Villa has all the makings of being one of the top seven or right clubs in the UK. If they do have a season where they can get themselves in the Champions League and finish 4th or higher and if the finances are there, then they are a big big club.

I would say first he needs to assess the players and second, he needs to get the players onside and get the confidence back. They need to finish in a solid league position and then try to bring in your own players and build. If they get the building right, then Aston Villa could be one of those clubs like what we're watching with Newcastle.

Photo: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0

It's two wins in a row for Jesse Marsch at Leeds, do you believe he isn't getting the respect he deserves?

I don't know exactly because I haven't read articles, but I hope he is. I know he was under pressure, and I thought it was ridiculous when he first took over and they were calling him Ted Lasso. That's unfair, how many managers have come in and never spoke English, they never got the abuse that he got for that. The Premier League is exciting, and you just have to look at his wins.

When it looked like if they lost at Anfield then he might lose his job and they win and played well. You saw the players, they came right over to him after the game, so they're behind him and you can see that. To go behind against Bournemouth and come back to win 4-3, again it shows the players are right behind him.

Nothing is easy in the Premier League, just because Leeds go three games without a win again doesn't mean he's a bad manager. It's hard, they don't have one of the big money squads in the Premier League so every single game they have to earn it. There's very rarely a day in the Premier League where you have a budget like Leeds do where you're going to be cruising to 3-0 victories.

I hope Jesse is getting some respect because I think he's gone in there and done really well. It's a hard league, for Leeds surviving is the goal.

The history of Leeds suggests they should be higher up the table, but we have to talk in realistic terms right now and survival is key for them.

I think Jesse is doing a really great job.

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