/ Soccer

Age not a factor for Tottenham Hotspurs' Brad Friedel

Updated: Thursday, 14 Mar 2013 18:07 | Comments

Brad Friedel: 'I feel the same after matches and heavy workouts as I did when I was 24'
Brad Friedel: 'I feel the same after matches and heavy workouts as I did when I was 24'

Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel may be the wrong side of 40 but feels as good as ever, with his parents providing the inspiration - if any was needed - to kick on.

The American has been a Premier League player since moving to England in 1997, plying his trade for Liverpool, Blackburn and Aston Villa before joining Spurs two years ago.

Friedel has this season been displaced by summer signing Hugo Lloris after a spell as number one, meaning cup competitions provide his first-team opportunities.

That will mean the veteran starts today at the San Siro, where Tottenham will look to secure safe passage to the Europa League quarter-finals against Inter Milan.

Spurs boast a 3-0 lead heading to Italy for a game that will be Friedel's sixth since penning a new deal to keep him at White Hart Lane until the age of 43.

"I feel as good as I ever have done," he said. "For me, age is just a number. I would never have signed a contract if I didn't think I could still perform.

"Obviously with every athlete in every sport there will come a time when you will have to stop.

"Until that time comes I'm going to continue to play. I would prefer to stop at the top, if possible. You know as a player when your legs go.

"I feel the same after matches and heavy workouts as I did when I was 24."

"For me, age is just a number" - Brad Friedel

Even for a goalkeeper, Friedel's run at the top is impressive.

It is something for which he counts himself fortunate, pointing to his parents when asked about playing into his 40.

"I was 41 last May but I was built like my mum, Sue," Friedel said.

"If you look at my dad and my mum, my dad Len has had a tough go of life when it comes to illness and injury but my mum has had nothing.

"I don't feel any different. When I go in for my medicals at the club, it is a very thin piece of paper.

"My mum is still a physical education teacher and has no signs of wanting to stop.

"She is 70 and teaches at an inner-city school from kindergarten - five or six - up to 14 year olds. She has to be quite fit - you wouldn't know she was 70, that's for certain.

"My dad has had everything. He has got Parkinson's. He has had a stroke.

"He has got a defibrillator fitted. A three-pronged pace-maker fitted. He has just had a rough go of things from the age of 50.

"That has been tough over the years at times because we are a close family."

Fortunately, Friedel reveals his father is doing okay at the moment - even though there have been times when he has had to take emergency flights back across the Atlantic.

It is a journey his father can no longer make due to illness, meaning he would not be able to make the trip to Amsterdam should Tottenham reach the Europa League final.

"Would the Europa League be a fantastic way to cement my career? Any trophy would be fantastic," Friedel said.

"It's a great feeling to win a trophy and there are not many players at this stage of the season who still have a chance of doing it so it would be great to win it.

"But we can't really look to that because it's only the round of 16 so far."

User contributions and/or comments do not, unless specifically stated, represent the views of RTÉ.ie or RTÉ.
Click here for Terms of use