A few eyebrows were raised when Spurs picked up Brad Friedel on a free during the summer and the majority of supporters were assuming that the American had joined as Tottenham’s back up keeper for 2011-12. He would either be warming up the bench, putting pressure on Heurelho Gomes or a new man would have stepped in to replace the Brazilian.
Names such as Maarten Stekelenburg and Manuel Neuer were mentioned and when they didn’t arrive, we all felt as if Gomes would hold his place.
Three months into the season and Brad is firmly installed as our new number one. The performance at Fulham finally gained him some headlines but up until yesterday’s game, Brad had quietly gone about his business.
“At the moment, the way things are going for Brad, the shirt is his to lose. He is playing really well for us in the league and he has played so many consecutive matches,” said Kevin Bond before the Fulham game.
“We are not playing him because of that run of consecutive games, but because he has showed that level of consistency to warrant playing in the league.”
Friedel may not be the best keeper in the Premiership but what he has given Tottenham this season is that feeling of calm at the back. There is no longer any real need for Spurs fans to close their eyes at corners and set pieces as the ‘error-prone’ Brazilian comes flapping and that new steadying influence must also rub off on the back four.
As I’ve said, Friedel may not be the greatest in the Premier League, but he is sadly the oldest and we must therefore keep looking to the future but for now, his contribution to this great eight game run cannot be underestimated.