Brad Friedel believes fellow American goalkeeper Brad Guzan can establish himself as Aston Villa’s number one for years to come.
The two were team-mates at the club for three years before Friedel left to join Tottenham in 2011.
And the veteran has paid tribute to his compatriot’s talent, tipping him to be number one at Villa Park for the next decade and beyond.
“Now is his time. He could be Villa’s number one for over ten years, absolutely. It’s entirely up to him by way of his performances,” Friedel told Villa’s official website.
“If he keeps playing like he has done this past season, he could be Villa’s goalkeeper for a long, long time.
“When you’re a goalkeeper that’s all you can ask. You can only ask to be in the team if your level of performance is consistently high.
“He can be one of the top goalkeepers in the Premier League too. He has all the attributes to be. The one thing he’s short on is playing games. He has to go through a lot of experiences – good times and bad times.”
Despite being number two to Friedel during their time together at Villa, the experienced stopper said his younger team-mate never held it against him.
And he feels when Villa signed Guzan it was with the intention of eventually taking over from him in the first team.
“I don’t think the management staff signed him to be a number two for his entire stay. They bought him to groom him to be number one,” Friedel added.
“We signed at the same sort of time. When we signed together, I was 37-years-old. They were almost signing me as a stop-gap while they groomed Brad for the long-term. It’s now really nice to see him getting the chance.
“Like every goalkeeper, you want to play the game. But I think he realised that it’s not the other goalkeepers who pick the team. It’s the management who pick the team. He had no animosity towards me.
“He always offered me encouragement. He’s a really good guy and he’s a good team-mate to everybody, whether goalkeepers or outfield players.
“You ask anyone who’s been with Brad in his time with Villa and they’ll be glowing in their praise.”