Evergreen Friedel ready to face San Siro cauldron
Even for a 41-year-old, professional football can bring new experiences. After a career spanning three decades, Brad Friedel will play a competitive match at San Siro for the first time tonight, and the American says he has his mother to thank for his longevity.
Friedel aims to help Spurs qualify for the quarter-finals of the Europa League at the expense of Internazionale, which they will achieve if they can protect a 3-0 lead from last week's first leg.
Hugo Lloris is the first-choice goalkeeper but head coach Andre Villas-Boas has selected Friedel for recent European matches, and he has played well enough to earn a contract until the end of the next season. If fulfilled, it would take Friedel, already the oldest player ever to play for Spurs, beyond his 43rd birthday.
"I was built like my mum, Sue," he said. "She is 70 but she is still a physical-education teacher in Cleveland, Ohio, and she shows no signs of wanting to stop."
Sadly for the Friedel family, Brad's father, Len, has not been so lucky. "My dad has had a tough go of life. He has Parkinson's disease and he has had a stroke."
If Spurs can negotiate their way through tonight's test, only four matches stand between them and the decider on May 15 in Amsterdam.
"From the first day the manager said one of his targets was the Europa League, and you can tell that from his team selection," said Friedel. "We take it very seriously and each one of us would love to lift a trophy."
Aaron Lennon and Emmanuel Adebayor travelled after recovering from injuries but Clint Dempsey misses out with a calf problem.
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