Friedel wants to be number one

Friedel, 40, signed for Spurs on a free transfer last month after

turning down a new deal from Aston Villa and an offer from

Liverpool. The fact Redknapp handed Friedel a two-year contract

shows he has faith in the American despite his age, and he could

start the season as Spurs’ first-choice goalkeeper. Redknapp’s

confidence in Heurelho Gomes diminished towards the end of last

term after the Brazilian produced a series of blunders that led

fans to fear their number one was quickly returning to the kind of

erratic form that dogged him shortly after he arrived in 2008.

Friedel and Gomes both started training at the club’s base in

Chigwell, Essex, on Monday ahead of next week’s pre-season tour of

South Africa. And the veteran stopper hopes his performances over

the coming weeks will lead to him starting in goal against Everton

on the opening day of the season. “My ambition is to get the number

one spot. That’s one of the reasons why I signed with Tottenham –

to play football,” Friedel told Spurs’ website. “Obviously the

decision is down to the manager but I am just going to go out and

work as hard as I can now. Hopefully I will be the number one

goalkeeper.” Despite his blunders, Gomes still put in some superb

performances last season and Friedel acknowledges that he faces

tough competition from the popular former PSV Eindhoven man and

Carlo Cudicini. “Every club now has at least two top-quality

goalkeepers. That’s been the same at every club I have been at,”

Friedel said. “You are always going to have two keepers who are

going to want to play and bust a gut to make sure they do play and

that’s no different here.” Friedel admitted he never thought he

would leave Villa last year, but the fall-out from Martin O’Neill’s

resignation just before the start of the season, and Gerard

Houllier’s troubled reign, convinced him that moving to London was

a much better option. “I just wanted to get through to Christmas

and I always thought that if I was fit enough I would end up

re-signing for Villa,” Friedel added. “They did offer me a contract

but when I had six months left I got offers from a few clubs. “I

just felt that after speaking with the chairman and the gaffer here

that this was the place I wanted to be. I liked the prospect of

trying to get the team back into the Champions League.” While

rumblings over the future of Luka Modric continue to dominate the

headlines, Redknapp has been busy plotting to get Tottenham back

into the Champions League. Despite reaching the quarter-finals of

the competition last year, they could only finish fifth in the

Premier League and had to settle for a place in the Europa League.

Friedel has been impressed with what he has seen since arriving and

is convinced the squad is capable of bouncing back to make the top

four. “The squad that has been pulled together here is a very

talented squad, one of the most talented squads that I have ever

been in,” Friedel added. “We had a very good run in the Champions

League last season. We weren’t far off qualifying for it again

through the league and we won’t be far off again this season.”