Brad Guzan backed by former Aston Villa teammate Brad Friedel to thrive in adversity

Brad Guzan

The 31-year-old goalkeeper has started the club's last two games against Everton and Manchester City after reclaiming his starting spot from summer signing Mark Bunn.

Ex-Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel has backed former teammate Brad Guzan to rediscover his best form as the club struggle to stave off the drop.

Friedel, who hung up his gloves last summer, mentored Guzan for three seasons at Villa before leaving the Midlands to join Tottenham Hotspur on a free transfer in June 2011.

Shay Given was subsequently signed from Manchester City by the incoming Alex McLeish to fill the vacant No. 1 spot, but the experienced Irishman held the job for just one season before new manager Paul Lambert opted to replace him with Guzan.

The US international proceeded to save the club from relegation in back-to-back campaigns with his shot-stopping heroics, but he has since endured a dramatic decline in form which has led to him being benched under both Tim Sherwood and successor Remi Garde.

Nevertheless, he now appears to have reclaimed his place for a second time after starting the last two games over Mark Bunn, and having impressed in the process, Friedel is confident that his compatriot can reproduce the performances that earned him Villa’s Player of the Year award for 2012-13 during the run-in.

Speaking to the club’s official website about Guzan, Friedel said: "It is tough when you are playing in a struggling team. As a goalkeeper, you really have to keep your concentration and try to keep your confidence high.

"The way media is today as well, nobody gets away with anything and you are on a 24/7 opinion path.

"If I was in Brad's shoes, there is only one thing you can do - turn up for training, work hard and hope that you can gain confidence from training to go into the game and make that key save or get that result.

2015-16 Premier League Goals Conceded GAMEErrors Lead To GoalErrors Lead To ShotClean SheetsSaves GAMETotal Crosses Claimed GAMECross Claim AccuracyGoal Kick AccuracyAppearancesMins Played
Brad Guzan 2 0 1 2 3.27 2 98% 51% 22 1,980
Mark Bunn 1.57 1 0 3 2.57 1.29 89% 38% 7 630

"As a person and a character, Brad is a great guy,” Friedel continued. “He had a setback where he was dropped by Tim Sherwood last year then he regained his place.

"He was dropped this year too and regained his place again. He is a positive guy and a very hard worker.”

Despite Guzan's solid displays against Everton and Manchester City last week, some calamitous defending meant Villa still conceded seven goals across the two games to lose both matches and make it four top-flight defeats in a row.

The club currently sit nine points from safety at the bottom of the table with only nine fixtures left and relegation now looks all but inevitable – marking a stark decline from when Martin O'Neill's side with Friedel in goal were challenging for a Champions League spot.

"I'd love nothing more at this stage when I turn on the TV at the weekend than to see that Aston Villa have won and have started a miraculous recovery,” Friedel told avfc.co.uk"I don't want to see Aston Villa in the Championship."

Regardless of what division Villa are in next season, though, Guzan's future at the club remains in question.

Manager Garde saw a mid-season move for Hajduk Split keeper Lovre Kalinic collapse due to work permit issues, and unless a new boss who has confidence in the former MLS star's abilities arrives in the summer, he could be facing a potential departure.

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