Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan has paid tribute to former teammate Brad Friedel ahead of his club's match against Tottenham on Sunday.
Guzan was largely restricted to the role of Friedel's understudy before the veteran moved on from Villa to Spurs, but he has now overtaken Shay Given as the Villans' first-choice in goal. The two Americans will both be at White Hart Lane for Sunday's matchup -- though Freidel's streak of 310 straight Premier League starts will come to an end as Hugo Lloris gets the nod -- and Guzan has described his compatriot as the "ideal mentor" as he adjusted to life in the Premier League.
"For me it was a matter of keeping myself fit and ready because, as a goalkeeper, you never know when you are going to get that chance," Guzan told reporters. "At times it was frustrating but that's part of being a goalkeeper and part of being in that position. But we had a really good working relationship. For me as a young goalkeeper coming to this country, working with a goalkeeper who has been in the game and in this country for so long, it really helped me.
"He was the ideal mentor. He's going to be a mentor for anybody, the fact that he's a bit older than most, and the fact that he's in his 40's, he's done what he's done for so long. He's been around the block. For me to be able to pick his brain was good."
Guzan described the 41-year-old Friedel's achievements as "remarkable" and praised his fitness and professionalism.
"Obviously we spent quite some time together here at Villa," Guzan said. "What he is doing at his age is remarkable. "If you look at his performances he's been fantastic for Tottenham, making good saves, helping them pick up points along the way. He keeps himself fit, helps the team get results and that's all you can ask for from a goalkeeper.
"He's an extremely good professional when it comes to keeping himself fit and sharp and ready. For him age is just a number. You wouldn't be able to tell from his performances the age that he is. I think his record of consecutive Premier League games speaks for itself. That's testament to the way he is as a professional and keeping himself in good shape."