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Spurs goalkeeper Brad Friedel eyes career in management

Brad Friedel. Pic: Action Images / Steven Paston Brad Friedel. Pic: Action Images / Steven Paston

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
1:16 PM

Brad Friedel says he will explore the possibility of joining a rare breed of goalkeepers-turned-managers when he hangs up his gloves.

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The 42-year-old’s Tottenham contract expires in the summer and, while his playing career at White Hart Lane may yet be extended, he has been planning for the future.

Having started coaching five years ago, he will complete his UEFA A-licence later this year, after the summer – and he would welcome the chance to put those skills to use.

“What interests me is something involved with the game, whether it’s coaching or management,” he said. “I’ve done quite a bit of punditry too.

“I think when you talk about management especially, even more so than the coaching, you have to get your chance. People always have this thing – is it a risk taking on a young manager? Listen, it’s a risk taking on any manager.

“I’ve been with young and old and I’ve been with some young ones who are far better than some of the old ones, and vice versa.

“I think the most important thing is getting together with the right club and the right chairman, and what’s right for you at the time.”

It is relatively rare for goalkeepers to become well-known managers, but Friedel believes he could buck that trend.

“There’s Dino Zoff and Bruce Arena in the States,” he said. “I think it might be that a lot of the goalkeepers didn’t want to do it.

“From my standpoint, it’s a great area to watch a game from and to learn from. When I started doing my coaching you pick an area on the field that you see best from. For me – if you’re doing phases of play, for example – you go and stand behind the goalkeeper and you can see everything.

“You obviously know what runs from a striker you don’t want to see, so you know how to implement that. You know how you want your defenders to defend, you know how you want your midfielders to defend, you know how you want your midfielders to attack and you know how you want your back four to get up the pitch. Every aspect of the game’s covered.

“I think that [lack of goalkeepers becoming managers] comes more from the fact that, many moons ago, people thought goalkeepers were crazy and they were sort of just set aside.

“I’ll agree that some goalkeepers are eccentric, but you can’t be thick to be a goalkeeper. You have to make too many decisions at too short a notice to be thick. Of course you can be eccentric, absolutely, but to be a top goalkeeper you can’t be thick.”

Meanwhile, Friedel believes Jermain Defoe will be a big hit in the MLS when he leaves Tottenham for Ryan Nelsen’s Toronto FC at the end of next month.

The American said: “I think for Jermain it was an outstanding contract, a great move. I think he’ll really enjoy himself out there.

“When a player leaves a club like Tottenham it’s right for both sides, and it was just time. We wish him all the best and he’ll do great out there.

“The city of Toronto is a really nice city, the MLS is getting stronger and stronger and what a great thing it is for them to have a player like Jermain.

“A lot of players have gone over there who have been past their best, but Jermain still has something to offer, especially at that level over there.

“On a four-year contract I think it will take him until he’s 35, so he’ll be able to navigate that league in those years, easily.”

It has been suggested that Defoe’s move will damage his chances of winning a place in England’s World Cup squad and spell the end of his international career.

But Friedel said: “It didn’t happen to [David] Beckham straight away, and it didn’t happen to Robbie Keane. I’ve not spoken to Roy Hodgson but I think if Roy and Jermain have a good relationship then I don’t think it should harm him – but that’s up to the FA.

“When there are moves like this it’s something that’s going to be right for the individual.

“The opinion and speculation of what might happen or might not happen with England, I don’t get involved too much in that – but I think Jermain knows what he’s doing, and I think he made a very good decision for himself.”

Under Armour athlete and Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Brad Friedel trains in ColdGear Infrared, the latest innovation in base layer technology that uses a thermo-conductive inner coating to keep you warmer for longer. For more details about the range, visit www.UnderArmour.com

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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