Monday, 28 July 2014

Holtby & Chicago coach Yallop praise Friedel

Brad Friedel appears to go on for ever but everything must come to an end so despite signing a new one-year contract with Tottenham Hotspur he may well now have played his last game for he club and has almost certainly played his last game on home American soil.

Holtby praises Friedel


He has played the full 90 minutes in Seattle when Spurs drew 3-3 with the Sounders and in Canada where Spurs beat Toronto 3-2. The American veteran keeper completed his American tour playing 77 minutes for Tottenham against Chicago Fire. Fittingly he kept a clean sheet and made some fine saves before departing to a standing ovation.

He applauded the crowd in return and showed the importance of having a local sporting hero in your squad. He will now no doubt undertake a lot of promotional work as well as staying fit should Spurs need a third keeper.

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Chicago Fires coach Frank Yallop had nothing but praise for Friedel.

“He deserves all the accolades you can give him, to be honest. Is he 43? Not bad. He’s in good shape. But I think that one of the top, if not the top, goalkeepers we’ve seen from the States. I think that he deserved everything he got tonight.”

The youngsters at Spurs have seen first hand that if you look after your body, train in the right way and live like a true professional you can have a long career. Young 23-year-old German Lewis Holtby, 20 years Friedel's junior joked he could go on until he's 60!

"Brad is a legend. Forty-three, still playing for one of the biggest clubs in England or in the world, and I just see him day in and day out in training, he's fit and the reception today from the fans was brilliant. Player's a top character and he works on himself every day. … I think he can play until he's 60."

A tad optimistic Lewis but we get the sentiment.



Is Naughton more valuable to Spurs than Rose?

So Swansea have made an enquiry for, although some quarters suggest an official bid for, Kyle Naughton, while West Ham, Crystal Palace and Hull City have enquired about Danny Rose.

Is Naughton more valuable to Spurs than Rose?


Spurs need two players in every position but of course some players don't want to be a back up or to have to fight for a position, they want an easy life of guaranteed football. These people lack a winners mentality, they are happy in a world of mediocrity and expect everyone to come down to their level, they have a losers mentality.

Both Kyle Walker and Danny Rose have made noises, Rose a year ago and Naughton late February, about wanting first team football. Noises and actions though are two different things.

After Naughton's comments Walker was injured and he had a long run in the side playing more minutes than all but five outfield players. He has featured on the US & Canada tour with Kyle Walker only now returning to training and starting to work on his fitness.

Where does a fit Walker leave Naughton and is Fredericks a back up right-back yet? Fredericks has pace and offers an option going forward but without game time lacks experience so it's probably a season too early for him to fulfil that role.

Tottenham played 54 games last season, more than any other Premier League club, a run in the Europa League and that number could increase especially if we go further than the third round of the FA Cup. Walker, you would assume will play all Premier League games barring injury. That leaves FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League ties, so perhaps 20 games for Naughton to play.

With an injury to Walker that number would increase and Fredericks would get cameos, maybe even the odd game or two with a view to preparing him for right-back understudy role next season. There are plenty of games, it's just a question of mentality. Do you accept second choice status and know you are going to play 15+ games a season, with the chance or more with injuries, or do you leave for a smaller club and regular Premier League football?

There is no right or wrong answer, it has to be individual choice. Personally I would have tried to sign 21-year-old American right-back DeAndre Yedlin from Seattle Sounders but then I have not seen enough of Fredericks to know his potential.

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Football finances play their part in decisions, we don't have an infinite wages budget. There has to be some squad members not on great wages and these players are going to be lesser players. Naughton may well have suffered from a lack of games but to counter that he didn't cover himself in glory with a run of games. I am not his greatest fan but appreciate he fulfils a role covering right and left-back positions.

He can be poor but he is probably not as bad as sometimes painted and how will he get on in Pochettino's system, if it suited him then maybe he would improve. I'm rather I don't mind if he goes, I don't mind if he stays at the moment.

Danny Rose is more of a concern for me and his future may affect Naughtos's future. Rose last summer said he doesn't want to return to Spurs to sit on a bench and noises coming out of the camp are that he is not happy with Ben Davies being signed.

That suggests he wants guaranteed Premier League football and thinks Davies is better than him, not exactly the mindset of a winner. He has a hot headed streak, against Stoke he should have been sent off, against Chicago Fire he petulantly pushed their right-back in the back when the ball and player were out of play to earn himself a booking.

His challenges were designed to win the ball but take the man as well, I leave you to figure out why. He gets sent off every season and is learning his trade, but how long do you give him to learn? He could actually develop into a decent left-back I believe, he has lots to improve yes, but he has the essential pace needed in today's full-backs, especially those in our system.

Work with an experienced left-back coach would do him wonders and he is a player Pochettino could improve but, can his brain be improved, can his mental approach be improved?

To me that is the key for him, will he be happy paying 20 games a year with the potential foe more? He has to answer the same question as Naughton. Zeki Fryers will get more games but is he a left-back or centre-back, we have to decide at some point and develop a specialist position, even if he can play both. Does that further limit the number of games available to Rose to play?

I guess we'll find out soon enough, it's only just over a month until the window shuts but while Rose has the potential to be the better player, Naughton may actually be more valuable to the club right now.


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VIDEO +Kane, Holtby, Friedel quotes

Tottenham players had nothing but praise for Major League Soccer, the facilities and enthusiasm of the crowds in America as football grows at a pace out there, even if they do call it soccer.

MLS Map


Harry Kane not only tweeted but gave a post match press conference.

"Great crowd out in Chicago tonight ! Good performance and win from the lads ! Always feels good to get on the scoresheet!"

“It’s very good. All the teams we’ve played have been top teams, it’s not far off [Premier League standard]. Everyone knows the MLS is getting bigger and better and there’s a lot of great players coming over here to play and we saw that.”




Brad Friedel revealed that from a training point of view it has been a very successful tour and that is the primary focus of the players and coaching staff leaving the club to concentrate on the commercial aspects of the tour.

“We had very good crowds at all three venues and I know on the training pitch it was a big success. We trained twice a day most days, very hard, he’s [Pochettino’s] a very demanding manager, but also very enjoyable.”

Young 23-year-old German midfielder Lewis Holtby felt that Major League Soccer has some good technical players and as his country has just won the World Cup he ought to know.

"You see the three fixtures we had are decent teams that really play some good football, that are technically good, physically good. Yeah, big compliment to the MLS."

Mauricio Pochettino is developing his English, he speaks it well enough but is feeling his way through press conferences so keeps short and generally to the point. When asked about the MLS he was just that.

"It's growing and it's growing fast."

The tour has been a resounding success and Tottenham will have taken a lot from it, next it's welcome back the World Cup players and then move on to Helsinki in Finland where we play Celtic on August 2nd.


Walker behind the rest in terms of fitness

Kyle Walker certainly looked behind the others in terms of fitness in the heat and humidity of Toyita Park as Tottenham took on and beat Chicago Fire.

Walker behind the rest in terms of fitness


He missed the first game, not wanting to risk his groin on an artificial surface and played the second half against Jermain Defoe's Toronto RC, after which he spoke to the media.

“It was good to get 45 minutes on the pitch again pain-free. It is a step in the right direction. Being injured for so long and missing out on the World Cup has been the most difficult part of my career. 
“Roy just said he couldn’t really take a risk with me. It was hard to hear. But I knew I wasn’t playing for my club at the time, so I had to take it on the chin. It hurt a lot, but hopefully that pain can help me develop even more as a player. This has taught me that things do not always go your way in football. 
“Sometimes you are left down in the dumps. And there is nothing you can do about it, other than get back in the gym, or on the training field to work hard on trying to get fit again. 
“It was the manager’s decision and you have to respect it. I will try to get back into the squad and then on that team-sheet again. I hope to be England’s right-back for many years to come.”

The first step was the Toronto game and then the Chicago Fire game where he again has 45 minutes. He clearly looked rusty and out of breath, having to time his runs and take defensive rests when he could. The season is three weeks away so he should have fitness levels OK by the season opener against West Ham.

Having seen Pochettino's system it looks as if he will have a new player in front of him with Aaron Lennon deployed on the left on this tour. Erik Lamela looks the favourite to be playing in front of him with Andros Townsend, also returning from injury, failing to impress.

Recent Articles:
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Lamela however also looked comfortable on the left and Lennon showed he is a better player than some Spurs fans realise, adapting to a new role in the inside left channel rather well. It's Walker back fit though wed like to see with Naughton looking no more than a competent understudy at the moment.

His decision making is often poor, Walker can make mistakes too but he is better than Naughton in defensive situations and he has the added bonus of speed allowing him to get up and down the flank.

Next up for Walker is Celtic in Finland on 2nd August.


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