Aston Villa's Brad Guzan relishing battle for USA No. 1 spot

Aston Villa keeper Brad Guzan isn't phased about having to compete with former third-choice Nick Rimando for the US national team's number one spot in Tim Howard's absence.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan insists that he’s relishing the battle with Real Salt Lake veteran Nick Rimando for the USA number one spot in Tim Howard’s absence.

Guzan, 30, has been one of the leading shot-stoppers in the Premier League since claiming the job at Villa at the start of the 2012-13 campaign, but Howard’s continued presence in the US goal has seen him restricted to just 27 international caps since his debut in 2006.

With the Everton keeper opting to take a break from the national team until September 2015, however, following a starring role at the World Cup, most assumed Guzan would slot straight into the side, but the former Chivas USA star has since been forced to audition alongside Rimando for the job.

Having rotated for the recent friendlies against Ecuador and Honduras, it remains to be seen who has the edge in head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s mind, but the Villa man remains confident that he will have the position nailed down in time for next summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.

‘You don’t become a professional to sit on the bench,’ he told ‘You always want to play – whether you’re with your national team, your club team.

‘You don’t get to the highest level of being able to represent your country by taking the easy way, so you want to play games, you want to be the guy that’s called upon to make big saves.

‘For me, it’s a huge opportunity and something that I’m looking forward to.’

 2014-15 TeamGoals ConcededClean SheetError Lead To GoalSavesSave AccTotal Cross ClaimsCross Claim AccGoal Kick AccAppsMins
Brad Guzan Aston Villa 12 3 1 22 64.71% 7 100% 38.96% 8 720
Tim Howard Everton 16 2 1 19 55.88% 17 94.12% 71.19% 8 720

After a strong start to the Premier League season looked to have helped his cause, Guzan’s Villa have since been through a tough run of results, but the Chicago-native believes his side can’t be too disappointed after taking 10 points from their opening eight games.

‘We got off to a really good start the first couple of games, and before the last four games if you would’ve said we’d have taken three draws out of those four, you probably would’ve taken it,’ he said.

‘It just so happened that we were able to beat Liverpool. Obviously, tough results against Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City, but three teams that are probably going to be competing for the league title and probably do something in Europe.

‘When you play against those teams, you always face a difficult challenge but for us it’s now focused on we get back to business and hopefully we pick up more points.’

As far as what Klinsmann thinks of the battle, the German boss is adamant that it will serve both well moving forward.

‘It goes really well. They’re loving it,’ he added. ‘They push each other in training … so it’s a good process. It really keeps them on their toes and Brad takes that very positively.

‘Obviously, Nick is thrilled that he is still having this opportunity to continue to fight for a starting spot. It’s good energy. They’re good guys.’

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