Tag Archives: goalkeepers

Brendan Rodgers says Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy"s performance was the best he"s ever seen

McCarthy for England: Reading keeper's performance the best ever, says Rodgers

By
Riath Al-samarrai

PUBLISHED:

21:00 GMT, 14 April 2013

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UPDATED:

00:57 GMT, 15 April 2013

At least there is hope, and failing that the prospect of receiving a hefty transfer fee.

Reading looked just about ready for the Championship on Saturday with the exception of a stand-in goalkeeper whose remarkable performance drew statements that were grand even by Brendan Rodgers’ standards.

Initially, the Liverpool manager said Alex McCarthy should be in contention for England; then he went as far as to describe his efforts in the 0-0 draw amounted to the best display of goalkeeping he had ever seen.

Scroll down for highlights from the Madejski…

England contention: Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (right) produced a stunning display between the sticks for the doomed club

England contention: Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (right) produced a stunning display between the sticks for the doomed club

Not many at the Madejski Stadium disagreed. His 10 saves, especially those that stopped Daniel Sturridge in the first half and Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez in the second, looked out of place in a doomed side capable of coughing up so many chances.

Best ever: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers said it was the best goalkeeping performance he'd ever seen

Best ever: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers said it was the best goalkeeping performance he'd ever seen

It’s anyone’s guess what impact he might have made on the club’s season had he not missed the past five months with a shoulder injury sustained when he collided with a goalpost against QPR in November.

None of this would have been a surprise to Rodgers, who oversaw Reading’s youth department and later managed the first team when the 23-year-old was coming through the ranks. He said: ‘Reading have always produced good goalkeepers and Alex is one who is next in line for me, he really is a top goalkeeper.

‘I was aware of him just before I left [as youth coach], and when I came back as manager he was still young. Goalkeepers need that experience so he went out on loan but he was always one that the guys here felt was going to be a top goalkeeper and you saw today that he has all the qualities to succeed.’

Having spent time on loan at Woking, Team Bath and Cambridge United, among other sides like Ipswich and Leeds, McCarthy only got selected after Adam Federici aggravated his ankle injury.

Asked if it was the best goalkeeping performance he had seen, Rodgers added: ‘Yes. I was sat in the changing room with the staff and said I couldn’t remember being at a game where a goalkeeper has made a performance like that, either as a manager, coach or spectator.

Attributes: Rodgers, who managed McCarthy when he was Reading boss, says the goalkeeper has all the tools to be one of the best

Attributes: Rodgers, who managed McCarthy when he was Reading boss, says the goalkeeper has all the tools to be one of the best

‘Normally goalkeepers make one or two saves that make a difference, but he made an incredible number of saves and when he was beat it was cleared off the line. It was a brilliant goalkeeping performance.’

Reading manager Nigel Adkins said: ‘We have some excellent goalkeepers. We have Stuart Taylor, Adam Federici, Alex McCarthy, Mikkel Anderson.

‘They are out there and have good competition for places which is important. Alex had been out for a long time, but had the opportunity and made some great saves. Now we have to ensure there is a consistency in his game.’

Frustrated: Liverpool had to settle for a second successive goalless draw

Frustrated: Liverpool had to settle for a second successive goalless draw

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Julio Cesar: I"m staying in London, even if QPR go down

Cesar: Even if QPR are relegated, I'll be staying in London

By
Declan Warrington

PUBLISHED:

15:41 GMT, 9 April 2013

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UPDATED:

17:11 GMT, 10 April 2013

Julio Cesar has revealed he is determined to remain in London, even if QPR are relegated from the Premier League.

The talented Brazil goalkeeper was a surprise summer signing at Loftus Road and has been one of their rare transfer successes and even rarer consistent performers over the course of a disastrous season.

Such is the likelihood that QPR are to be relegated back to the Championship, Cesar has been reported as being on the verge of a move to AC Milan, whose cross-city rivals Inter he left last summer.

Classy: Julio Cesar used to be considered one of the world's best goalkeepers

Classy: Julio Cesar used to be considered one of the world's best goalkeepers

Stopping short of committing himself to QPR, however, Cesar is adamant he regardless wishes to continue to play in the Premier League and insists he has no intention of undermining his time at Inter by moving to Milan.

'I'm still an Interista in my heart,' he told Corriere della Sport. 'I’m learning a new language in London, the city is beautiful and my family is happy.

'I was certainly not treated well by Inter. I love Italy, but I’ve been won over by the environment here.'

On his knees: But even he cannot save QPR's season from disaster

On his knees: But even he cannot save QPR's season from disaster

Cesar's apparent desire to remain in London significantly limits his options if he is to remain in the Premier League but it is not unthinkable that he will secure a suitable move.

Fulham were in January interested in recruiting a new goalkeeper although Mark Schwarzer's return to form means that stance may have changed, West Ham had attempted but failed to sign Paul Robinson and the Arsenal future of Wojciech Szczesny remains uncertain.

Should Watford gain promotion to the Premier League there is also a chance he could join their growing overseas contingent but the likelihood of each remains to be seen.

Wojciech Szczesny plays for Arsenal Under 21s at Anfield

Szczesny starts for Arsenal but can't prevent U21s defeat to Liverpool

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

22:19 GMT, 8 April 2013

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UPDATED:

06:03 GMT, 9 April 2013

Wojciech Szczesny started for Arsenal’s Under 21 side but could not prevent the visitors falling to defeat against an impressive crop of Liverpool youngsters at Anfield.

The Poland international has not been given a senior appearance by Arsene Wenger for over a month, with Lukas Fabianski being preferred over his error-prone countryman.

Szczesny's dad recently launched a furious attack at Wenger, accusing the Frenchman of making his son the scapegoat for the Gunners' poor.

Back in the game: Wojciech Szczesny played for the Arsenal Under 21s at Anfield

Back in the game: Wojciech Szczesny played for the Arsenal Under 21s at Anfield

The 22-year-old defended his manager however, claiming his dad was wrong to criticise his boss.

But Wenger did not even name Szczesny on the bench for Arsenal's 2-1 win at West Brom on Saturday.

'I rotate the goalkeepers on the bench because when they are two games on the bench then they work for two games, because when they sit always on the bench they lose fitness,' he said.

Last night at Anfield, Adam Morgan beat the Pole to draw first blood for Liverpool before Chuba Akpom equalised for the Gunners.

Krisztian Adorjan put the Reds back in the lead after half-time, but Serge Gnabry kept his cool to level things up once again.

Struggles: Szczesny was dropped by Arsene Wenger and has had to make do with a seat on the bench

Struggles: Szczesny was dropped by Arsene Wenger and has had to make do with a seat on the bench

Struggles: Szczesny was dropped by Arsene Wenger and has had to make do with a seat on the bench

There was no response, however, after Morgan snatched his second at the Kop End to clinch victory for the hosts.

England
Under 21 international Jonjo Shelvey also turned out for the Liverpool
side, but it was Adjoran and Morgan who ensured the hosts ran out
winners.

Adorjan burst down the right flank before drilling an accurate cross into the area for Morgan.

The 18-year-old made no mistake, knocking the ball past the stranded Szczesny from inside the six-yard box.

No cigar: Jonjo Shelvey tries an effort with his left foot as Arsenal's defenders can only watch

No cigar: Jonjo Shelvey tries an effort with his left foot as Arsenal's defenders can only watch

Tussle: Gedion Zelalem of Arsenal takes on Stephen Sama (left) of Liverpool

Tussle: Gedion Zelalem of Arsenal takes on Stephen Sama (left) of Liverpool

Spotted: Jose Enrique watches form the stands as Liverpool edged out Arsenal at Anfield

Spotted: Jose Enrique watches form the stands as Liverpool edged out Arsenal at Anfield

Rangers extend Scott Gallacher"s contract as Ally McCoist hopes to strengthen his keeper options

Rangers extend Gallacher contract as McCoist hopes to strengthen keeper options

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

20:58 GMT, 18 February 2013

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UPDATED:

20:58 GMT, 18 February 2013

Rangers have signed second-choice goalkeeper Scott Gallacher on a two-year contract extension.

The 23-year-old has not made a first-team appearance but has played for Cowdenbeath and Forfar on loan.

Gallacher told the club's official website: 'It's really good to sign another contract. This is a great club to be at and I grew up supporting Rangers so I'm delighted to be staying on once again.

Bidding: Rangers' manager Ally McCoist is hoping to sign several keeper soon

Bidding: Rangers' manager Ally McCoist is hoping to sign several keeper soon

'I've been here for seven years now and I'm still waiting for my chance but hopefully it can come soon.

'”We're not far from winning the league so hopefully we can do that and then I can get to play in one of the remaining games after that.

'It's down to the gaffer and (goalkeeping coach) Jim Stewart to decide whether that happens or not but I would love an opportunity to show what I can do.'

Rangers manager Ally McCoist is hoping to sign Kilmarnock goalkeeper Cammy Bell on a pre-contract agreement and also trying to extend Neil Alexander's contract, stating he would send Gallacher on loan if both deals come off.

Gallacher added: 'I'm glad the management have the trust in me to offer me an extended stay and I'm looking to repay them for that.

'There has been a bit of speculation about goalkeepers lately and Rangers are a massive club so you're always going to have that.

'That's something you get used to and accept. You take it as it comes but all I can do is do my best and hope things work in my favour.'

England begin training for Wembley friendly with Brazil

England stars get down to business in training as they prepare to face the boys from Brazil

By
Declan Warrington

PUBLISHED:

11:16 GMT, 4 February 2013

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UPDATED:

14:16 GMT, 4 February 2013

England have begun preparations for Wednesday's illustrious friendly at Wembley with Brazil.

The bad news for manager Roy Hodgson, however, is that only 11 outfield players were available to fully train today.

The withdrawals of the injured Jermain Defoe and Michael Carrick and the absence of the unfit Daniel Sturridge had significantly contributed to
the depleted numbers available to Hodgson to train, with others involved yesterday in the
Premier League instead limited to a warm-down session.

Put through their paces: The limited numbers available to England began training today

Put through their paces: The limited numbers available to England began training today

Elder statesman: Jack Butland is temporarily England's most senior goalkeeper

Elder statesman: Jack Butland is temporarily England's most senior goalkeeper

Watchful eye: Hodgson observes Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Ashley Cole in training

Watchful eye: Hodgson observes Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Ashley Cole in training

Joe Hart and Jack Butland remain the only
senior goalkeepers in Roy Hodgson's full squad but with Hart among
those only warming down, Middlesbrough's inexperienced Jason Steele has been added to
the training squad to aid preparations for Wednesday's fixture.

Hodgson is expected to announce further
squad changes today, incidentally, in response to the withdrawals of Carrick and Defoe and because of Sturridge's inability to train.

The forward has discussed his
fitness with the England manager and, though reluctant to do so, is expected to
accept that he will be unable to play any part against Brazil
and could therefore leave the England camp.

Heart-to-heart: Sturridge could withdraw from England's squad after this conversation with Hodgson

Heart-to-heart: Sturridge could withdraw from England's squad after this conversation with Hodgson

All as one: The England senior team alongside the U21s and U19s

All as one: The England senior team alongside the U21s and U19s

All smiles: Wayne Rooney shares a joke with Glen Johnson

All smiles: Wayne Rooney shares a joke with Glen Johnson

Safe hands Middlesbrough goalkeeper Jason Steele is entirely unproven at the highest level

Safe hands Middlesbrough goalkeeper Jason Steele is entirely unproven at the highest level

Ashley Cole, however, was among the 11 available to Hodgson today, meaning he remains on course to follow Peter Shilton, David Beckham, Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton, Billy Wright and Steven Gerrard and become the seventh England player to reach 100 caps.

His presence is a real positive for England given the intimidating prospect of facing both Ronaldinho and Neymar, but even for all of the latter's reputation as one of the world's greatest talents, another of Hodgson's defenders, Phil Jagielka, has revealed his international team-mates are yet to truly know what it is they can expect from him.

'I don't know a lot about Neymar,' Jagielka said. 'We don't see a lot of footage. He plays in Brazil so it is tough for us.

Limited numbers: But England's ranks are expected to swell before Wednesday's friendly

Limited numbers: But England's ranks are expected to swell before Wednesday's friendly

Coaching conference: Roy Hodgson, Gary Neville and Stuart Pearce in discussion

Coaching conference: Roy Hodgson, Gary Neville and Stuart Pearce in discussion

Midfield rivals: Frank Lampard, Leon Osman and Tom Cleverley will all hope to feature in England's midfield

Midfield rivals: Frank Lampard, Leon Osman and Tom Cleverley will all hope to feature in England's midfield

'But we have video analysis people when we meet up with England and they will have plenty of footage for us to review.

'They will pick out his good points and bad ones. I am sure the good points will be going on for hours.'

Greek children score amazing team goal

VIDEO: Greek children score an amazing goal that looks like it came straight from the Nou Camp

By
Sunni Upal

PUBLISHED:

10:03 GMT, 8 January 2013

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UPDATED:

10:03 GMT, 8 January 2013

Could this team be the next Barcelona Judging by this effort, they could well be.

These Greek children score a goal as good as any team effort in years gone by.

In Argentina v Serbia World Cup 2006 style, the ball gets played from one side of the pitch to the other, back to the goalkeeper and then ends with a composed finish into the bottom corner.

Scroll down for video

greek boys goal

greek boys goal

Most goalkeepers of that age in that position would have panicked and tried to clear their lines as quick as poosible, yet this ‘keeper has the confidence to take on two players.

It is a goal that wouldn’t be out of place in the Nou Camp or the Bernebau.

If you’re a fan of ‘putting the ball in the box’ then maybe this goal is not for you. But you can’t help but admire the confidence of these kids.

Blackpool v Hull – match report

Blackpool 0 Hull 0: All square at Bloomfield Road with keepers on form

PUBLISHED:

18:16 GMT, 1 January 2013

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UPDATED:

00:37 GMT, 2 January 2013

Goalkeepers Matt Gilks and Eldin Jakupovic earned their respective sides a share of the points with crucial second-half saves in a game of few chances at Bloomfield Road.

Blackpool's Gilks pulled off a flying save to keep out Hull midfielder David Meyler's goalbound shot in the 60th minute, while opposite number Jakupovic was at full stretch himself to turn away a vicious 25-yard effort from the home side's coveted Thomas Ince in the 85th minute.

Thomas Ince shoots

Spurned: Both teams had good chance to win but were denied at either end

Jakupovic, a Bosnian-born Switzerland international, then made another fine save in the second minute of time added on to keep out Seasiders' substitute Nathan Delfouneso's shot and ensure Hull stretched their unbeaten league run to eight matches.

MATCH FACTS

Blackpool: Gilks,Eardley, Broadfoot, Baptiste, Crainey, Osbourne, Sylvestre, Basham, Ince, Taylor-Fletcher (Dicko 80),Thomas (Delfouneso 66).

Subs: Halstead, Kevin Phillips, Cathcart, Martinez,Harris.

Booked: Taylor-Fletcher.

Hull: Jakupovic, Chester, Faye, Hobbs, Rosenior, Meyler, Evans (Bruce 83), Quinn, Brady, Koren (Simpson 46), Aluko (Proschwitz 46).

Subs: Amos, Cairney, McShane, Olofinjana.

Att: 13,691

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire).

Click here for all the latest Championship table, fixtures and results

Hull, who had won six of their previous seven npower Championship matches, remain second in the table, while Blackpool, for all their late pressure, have now won only one of their last six league matches.

Midfield pair Ludovic Sylvestre and Isaiah Osbourne, plus defender Neal Eardley returned to Blackpool's starting line-up, while Liam Rosenior stepped in at right-back for Hull in place of the injured Ahmed Elmohamady.

Neither side could fashion a chance worthy of note in the first 20 minutes save for Hull's on-loan Sunderland midfielder Meyler, who dragged an angled shot from the left side of the penalty area off target.

The visitors threatened again in the 22nd minute when striker Sone Aluko flashed a 25-yard shot wide and it was not until the 29th minute that Blackpool's coveted winger Ince fired his side's first shot on goal straight at Jakupovic.

The Seasiders enjoyed their best spell from the half-hour mark, with striker Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Ince both prominent, but failed to test Jakupovic again before the half-time whistle.

Steve Bruce

Stalemate: Steve Bruce's side remain in second place after today's draw

Hull manager Steve Bruce replaced Aluko and midfielder Robert Koren for strikers Nick Proschwitz and Jay Simpson at the interval and the latter was straight into the action when his header from Rosenior's cross forced Gilks into a smart save 90 seconds after the restart.

Gilks then held Hull midfielder Robbie Brady's 20-yard free-kick as the visitors went in search of the breakthrough.

Meyler, who has scored three goals in his last four appearances for the Tigers, went closest to the game's opening goal with a superb strike in the 60th minute that prompted a spectacular save from Gilks, whose outstretched arm turned the goalbound shot away for a corner.

Blackpool were dealt a blow soon after when striker Wes Thomas was forced off injured and replaced by Delfouneso before Sylvestre had a rare shot on goal for the home side, firing an angled drive just wide.

The game was finely balanced heading into the final quarter when Blackpool defender Chris Basham fired a 25-yard effort over the crossbar, while at the other end Hull midfielder Corry Evans spurned a gilt-edged chance when he failed to keep his shot from inside the area on target.

Jakupovic flung himself at Ince's 25-yard shot in the closing stages to push the ball away to safety before Delfouneso blazed over the crossbar from inside the area in stoppage time.

Adrian Durham: Useless Liverpool need Jamie Carragher, make Arsenal play at Stoke on Boxing Day

Keepers make mistakes so back off England's undisputed No 1 Hart… Useless Liverpool need Carragher… And make Arsenal play away on Boxing Day (at Stoke)

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UPDATED:

09:52 GMT, 27 December 2012

I hope Joe Hart didn’t bother looking at Twitter on Boxing Night. According to some tweeters, he became the first top class goalkeeper to ever make a mistake. Every goalkeeper in history has made mistakes.

From a Manchester City point of view I’d be more worried about Aguero and Tevez failing to score again. From an England point of view the question is whether Joe Hart has been dislodged from his position as the number one keeper

The only realistic contender is Fraser Forster (who made a mistake earlier this season against Kilmarnock). I rate Forster very highly and I've always been puzzled why he never received an Under 21 call-up.

Jeepers keepers: Joe Hart was caught out of position for Adam Johnson's winner for Sunderland at the Stadium of Light

Jeepers keepers: Joe Hart was caught out of position for Adam Johnson's winner for Sunderland

Hart hurts: The Manchester City No 1 was consoled after the defeat

Hart hurts: The Manchester City and England No 1 was consoled after the defeat

Follow Adrian Durham on Twitter – @talkSPORTDriveCLICK HERE TO READ ADRIAN'S DEBUT COLUMN FOR SPORTSMAIL

Thankfully, his ability has now been recognised by Roy Hodgson and he's now in the England squad, although yet to make his debut.

I first noticed Forster when he had a season on loan at Norwich and helped them win the League One title in 2010.

He broke records for keeping clean sheets and was voted player of the season by his Norwich team-mates. He was superb that season.

Able deputy: Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster provides competition for Hart's England jerseyAble deputy: Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster provides competition for Hart's England jersey

Able deputy: Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster provides competition for Hart's England jersey

He was also sent off against Gillingham,
and gifted Leeds a last-minute winner when the two sides met. I’m not
criticising Forster, I’m just highlighting the fact that all goalkeepers
will make mistakes.

I hope Hodgson gives Forster some minutes on the pitch when England meet Brazil in a friendly at Wembley in February.

But let's keep it real – Joe Hart is the undisputed No 1 with the current English champions. England fans should be proud of him.

USELESS LIVERPOOL NEED CARRAGHER

I see Liverpool were useless again. There has been a lot said about Brendan Rodgers being short of firepower, with Luis Suarez the only recognised striker at the club.

But I’m wondering what’s happening at the other end of the pitch Liverpool have conceded eight goals in their last four games, and the goals Stoke scored on Boxing Day were cheap to say the least.

Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel are the preferred partnership but they’re not doing their jobs properly and it’s costing Liverpool points.

Get back: Defender Jamie Carragher watched Liverpool's Boxing Day defeat by Stoke from the bench

Get back: Defender Jamie Carragher watched Liverpool's Boxing Day defeat by Stoke from the bench

Perhaps it’s time for Jamie Carragher to come back into the first team. Liverpool clearly need leadership at the back, and Carragher would provide that.

He celebrates his 35th birthday next month, so he’s not the long term answer. But stability at the back would help Liverpool right now, and give some of the younger players another respected pro to look up to in the dressing room.

MAKE ARSENAL PLAY AWAY ON BOXING DAY… AT STOKE!

I still can’t quite get my head round Arsenal Football Club's inability to stage a Premier League game on Boxing Day because of a tube strike.

They talked to the police and others before taking the decision, saying the 'paramount concern was always the duty of care towards the Arsenal supporters, West Ham supporters, matchday employees and everyone who was planning to attend the game.'

I went to Craven Cottage on Boxing Day
and had no problem getting to or from the game by car. Just up the road,
Queens Park Rangers also had a home game – combined crowd at the
Cottage and at Loftus Road was just over 43,000.

Capital gains: Fulham and Southampton managed to defy the London tube strike and play out a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage

Capital gains: Fulham and Southampton managed to defy the London tube strike at Craven Cottage

Happy shoppers: Westfield Shopping Center was full to the rafters despite the tube strike

Happy shoppers: Westfield Shopping Center was full to the rafters despite the tube strike

Then throw in the thousands who packed Westfield shopping centre literally round the corner from QPR's ground and you start to realise the enormity of Boxing Day in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

It doesn’t reflect well on Arsenal that they couldn't stage their game. They've had extra rest time, and the fixture will be played at the end of January when the Gunners may already have made signings in the transfer window.

The Gunners got what they deserved with Spurs, Everton and West Brom all winning and going above them.

The best way around this in the future (Arsenal also postponed this fixture last season) is to force Arsenal to play away on Boxing Day. Ideally at Stoke.

HODGSON MUST FOLLOW FERGIE'S LEAD AND KEEP FAITH IN CARRICK

I've always been an admirer of Michael Carrick and have struggled to understand why Sir Alex Ferguson has faith in him but no England manager over the past ten years has felt the same way.

Fergie has been successful, all those England managers failed miserably. You do the maths.

So I watched Carrick at Swansea put in his usual display of world class passing, and regularly breaking up play. Then in the 4-3 win over Newcastle, Carrick was roasted by his critics for giving the ball away in the build up to Newcastle's opener.

Keep the faith: Michael Carrick was instrumental in Manchester United's 4-3 victory over Newcastle

Keep the faith: Michael Carrick was instrumental in Manchester United's 4-3 victory over Newcastle

Those same critics were strangely quiet when Carrick found Hernandez with a precision pass for the winner. And, indeed, they said nothing when he poked an instinctive ball to set up Robin van Persie for his goal.

England have always struggled to keep possession, and yet one of the best passers of the ball in the Premier League has consistently been overlooked.

People only want to talk about Carrick's mistakes. That's probably why he rarely gets talked about.

Follow Adrian on Twitter – @talkSPORTDrive… Adrian hosts talkSPORT's Drivetime Show on weekdays between 4pm–7pm alongside former England cricketer Darren Gough

Friedel to fight Lloris at Tottenham after signing new deal to 2014

Friedel chooses fight over flight after signing to stay at Tottenham until 2014

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UPDATED:

09:44 GMT, 26 December 2012

Brad Friedel has signed a new contract to extend his stay with Tottenham until 2014.

The United States goalkeeper had been linked with a return to Blackburn after being deposed as first-choice by summer signing Hugo Lloris but now appears set to fight for his place.

Friedel, the only player in Premier League history to have made over 300 consecutive league starts, arrived at Spurs from Aston Villa in 2011.

Commited: Despite interest from former club Blackburn, Friedel wants to stay at White Hart Lane

Commited: Despite interest from former club Blackburn, Friedel wants to stay at White Hart Lane

His commitment to the club leaves manager Andre Villas-Boas with four goalkeepers – the other two, Heurelho Gomes and Carlo Cudicini, are both big earners and could be set for exits

Lloris, meanwhile, says he cannot wait to have his first taste of Boxing Day tension, even though it has meant sacrificing his usual extravagant dining.

The France captain is preparing for their visit to Villa today but admits he usually “feasts” over Christmas and is not used to showing restraint from gorging on fine food.

Down but not out: Lloris' arrival has not convinced Friedel he needs to leave the club

Down but not out: Lloris' arrival has not convinced Friedel he needs to leave the club

Players in Ligue 1 are handed a two-week break from football over the festive period, before the campaign resumes on Friday, January 11.

‘Usually it was a period where I lay around, enjoying many feasts,’ he told L’Equipe.

‘I heard someone shout from the stands, “these aren’t holidays, so watch your line”.’

Safe hands: Lloris is looking forward to facing Aston Villa

Safe hands: Lloris is looking forward to facing Aston Villa

Taking it in good humour, the former Lyonnais stopper admits to having chuckled at this, but knows the importance of staying focused.

‘It is a family event and it shows all the passion of football in England. I can’t wait to see it for myself.’

Brad Friedel denies rumours of Blackburn return

I'm staying at Spurs, insists Friedel as he denies rumours of Blackburn return

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UPDATED:

22:53 GMT, 7 December 2012

Staying put: Friedel

Staying put: Friedel

Brad Friedel has dismissed reports he was close to joining Blackburn Rovers last month and stressed he is enjoying competing for the Spurs No 1 jersey with Hugo Lloris.

Henning Berg was keen to bring the 41-year-old back to Ewood Park in a player-coach role but Andre Villas-Boas blocked the move.

Lloris was expected to be Tottenham’s undisputed goalkeeper after signing for 8million this summer but the Portuguese manager appears undecided between the two.

Friedel, who played in the Europa League on Thursday but is likely to return to the bench for the visit to Everton, said: ‘Apparently when I was contemplating having a medical I was at home having Thanksgiving dinner with my family. What happens between club and club a lot of players don’t know.

‘I’m contracted to Tottenham and I’m concentrating on Tottenham. Whatever role they throw at me I’ll do it to the best of my capabilities.

‘There’s no rivalry with Hugo. At every club, for 21 seasons, there’s competition for places. As I said before when I signed the two-year contract I figured I would play last year, this year was an unknown.

Competition: Lloris (above) and Friedel have shared No 1 duties

Competition: Lloris (above) and Friedel have shared No 1 duties

‘The club have been on the look-out for a long term goalkeeper for a couple of years. We also have two other outstanding goalkeepers at the club in Heurelho Gomes and Carlo Cudicini.

‘So competition for places Yes. But the club is going to be around a lot longer than any of us. They want to be in the Champions League and they want to try to win trophies so they continuously have to buy good players in every position.

‘Do I thrive on competition Absolutely. Or else I wouldn’t be playing football, and definitely not at the age of 41.’

Asked if he might move in the January transfer window he said: ‘That’s all hypothetical. I’m at Tottenham and I’m very happy here.’