x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Friedel says he has no plans to retire yet

Aston Villa's American shot stopper and Premier League's oldest player says he is feeling better than ever and benefiting from his years of experience.

Brad Friedel is one of the oldest players in the Premier League, but the veteran goalkeeper insists he has no intention of hanging up his gloves even though he will turn 40 next year. Aston Villa's American shot stopper says he is feeling better than ever and is benefiting from his years of experience. Friedel told www.avfc.co.uk: "Every time you get a year older, people want to talk about you being in this form or that form and think it has to do with age.

"I feel fantastic physically. Age is no issue at the moment at all, except the experience helps. I feel physically the same way as I did when I was 25. There are many goalkeepers around the league who would say the same, like David James [Portsmouth], Edwin van der Sar [Manchester United] and Mark Schwarzer [Fulham]. "I hope to continue for as long as I can walk basically." Friedel, who faces Blackburn, one of his former sides, in the last match of the season on Sunday, believes the focus on keepers at the top level is so intense that it can be more difficult for younger players.

He added: "It's such a mental position. In games you go through periods of time where you don't actually interact in the play. For that reason you have to be mentally strong. "You also have to be mentally strong when you make a mistake and bounce back because generally the mistake a goalkeeper makes will lead to a goal. When you're younger you feel the eyes of the country and even the eyes of the world are upon you. Sometimes when you're younger it's difficult to bounce back from that. "When you're older instances like that are easier to come through. But, you never like to make a mistake. I still have sleepless nights." * PA