Bassong: Brilliant ‘Uncle Brad’ will fight for his No1 jersey at Spurs
Sebastien Bassong is predicting a tough competition between ‘Uncle Brad’ Friedel and Hugo Loris as the pair battle it out for the No1 jersey at Tottenham this season.
Bassong, who recently swapped Spurs for Norwich, made an early return to White Hart Lane on Saturday and found his former team-mate Friedel in top form.
The American goalkeeper, who was making his 307th consecutive Premier League appearance, denied the impressive Canaries time and again to deservedly earn the man of the match award.
The 41-year-old - the oldest player in the top flight - is now under threat from France captain Hugo Lloris, who arrived from Lyon on deadline day.
But Bassong believes that it would be a big mistake to immediately write Friedel off – and he feels that Lloris will learn a lot from Tottenham’s eldest statesman.
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“He’s old, I call him Uncle Brad, but he’s a terrific player and honestly it’s going to be a tough competition between him and Hugo, who’s coming in, and the best will play,” said Bassong.
“I’ve got no doubts about Brad’s quality. After the game he played against us, it’s going to be a tough competition. He’s still one of the best, for sure, no doubt about it.
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“Spurs finished fourth last season and he played a big part of it, and I think this season he’s going to play a key role as well.
“I think Hugo will learn a lot. He’s a really good keeper, I’ve played with him already [for France’s Under-21s] and I know him, but now I think he’s in a new competition and a new country, and he’ll need Brad’s help.”
Bassong is also predicting a bright future for another of Spurs’ summer signings, Mousa Dembele.
The Belgian midfielder was a key man in Fulham’s 5-0 victory over Norwich on the opening day of the season – and having moved across London, it was he who came off the bench to give Tottenham the lead over the Canaries on Saturday.
“When I saw the teamsheet and I saw Dembele on the bench I thought’ yes, that’s good for us’ but he came on at half-time and he scored a good goal,” said Bassong.
“He’s a terrific player, I think he’s going to add a lot at Spurs and I wish them all the best.
“I’m really delighted about my return at White Hart Lane. I was a bit… not nervous but it was a little bit emotional for me, but I’m really happy about it.
“I had a good reaction from the fans and I’m really happy about that, and the way they welcomed me, so I think I owe them a lot - and thanks to them.”
Bassong has revealed that he gave Andre Villas-Boas a parting message when he left Tottenham.
“I told him that he will buy me back one day!” said the defender. “It was a joke, I’ve got a good relationship with him so I think I can have a joke with him.
“I’m really happy with how it’s started with Norwich. I haven’t lost yet and I think we deserved to win this game because we really created many chances and Friedel had a magnificent game.”
Bassong is likely to spend the international break settling into his new surroundings after an inauspicious start to life in Norfolk.
“I’m just looking for a house, it’s hard. I’m in a hotel,” he said. “When my car broke down two days ago I was in the middle of nowhere. Welcome to Norwich!”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs