Friedel: Shirt is mine to lose
Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel has warned new signing Hugo Lloris he will have to fight hard to get into the first team at White Hart Lane. Friedel, 41, was in fine form between the sticks in Tottenham's 1-1 draw against Norwich while Lloris, who signed for the club on deadline day for £12million, was left on the bench. And the veteran insists he is looking forward to the challenge of staying ahead of Lloris, Carlo Cudicini and Heurelho Gomes as the season progresses. "It's great to have competition," he told Goals on Sunday. "I'm 41 right now; when I signed the contract at Tottenham I signed as a stop gap while they looked for a long-term No 1 goalkeeper. "Carlo Cudicini, who is an outstanding goalkeeper, has just turned 39; Heurelho Gomes, who is an outstanding goalkeeper as well is 31. Tottenham Hotspur deserve a long-term goalkeeper. "Hugo Lloris is going to come in and he's going to be, I'm assuming, a very good goalkeeper. It's a tricky situation to come into the Premier League because it does take some learning. "When I first came in I had probably my worst year-and-a-half spell of my entire career at Liverpool while I was learning my way - but it's an invaluable experience as well. "Hugo Lloris is France's No 1 and he's going to want to come in and play; it's a friendly competition, if you like. You have to understand Hugo Lloris is going to be a team-mate, not an enemy. "I want to play; I've always wanted to play. However, I would never demean the manager or spit my dummy out, so to speak, if I'm not. "The fact of the matter is, right now, we have four quality goalkeepers at the football club. Right now I believe the shirt is mine to lose. I believe the manager came out and said that. "I think everyone just needs to have open and honest dialogue through the whole thing because at the end of the day what's best is for Tottenham to get points on the board. It's easier, though, to say that when you are a 41-year-old rather than a 25-year-old facing the big breaking point of his career." Spurs accumulated 69 points last season to finish fourth in the Premier League and would have earned a place in this season's Champions League had Chelsea - who finished sixth - not displaced them by winning Europe's most prestigious club competition on penalties. Friedel admitted that missing out was a bitter pill to swallow after such a successful season. "It was tough to deal with - it's not a great feeling," he told Kammy and Ben. "When Didier Drogba was walking up to take the final penalty I turned around because I knew he was going to score. "For the next week or so you are very low but then you have to get over it and start a new season afresh. We've come in with a new manager, some new players and we have to get on with things and I fully anticipate us having a very good season. "We all wanted to play in the Champions League - contrary to a lot of reports I don't think there were too many players thinking about the cash bonus." Friedel conceded that Spurs might have qualified for the Champions League as of right if their form had not dipped in early 2012 at around the same time as then manager Harry Redknapp started to be linked with the England manager's job vacated by Fabio Capello. However the goalkeeper denied that there was any clear link between the speculation and the team's form. "The [dip in results] was more coincidental because the day-to-day management of the club didn't change," he said. "The players didn't walk in every morning thinking 'is Harry going to England?' That didn't happen. "One thing that did happen was that the media never stopped. The question was asked at every press conference. Everywhere I went it was the same; I'd go out to a restaurant and someone would come up and ask 'is Harry going to England'. It just kept going on and on. "Off the field it certainly didn't help but as far as it affecting us as players and our performances on the pitch, I don't think it did. There were a lot of games where we played well and we maybe didn't score at the right time and conceded at the wrong time. "At the end of the day we weren't contracted to Harry Redknapp; we are contracted to Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and that's the key."
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