He holds the record as the oldest player to have appeared in the Premier League but, at 42, Brad Friedel remains at the peak of physical fitness.
In the final instalment of a three-part interview series, the veteran goalkeeper reveals how yoga and the right diet have kept him playing into his forties, and he gives his thoughts on taking on a player/coaching role in future when his body finally says enough is enough.
Ryan Giggs swears by it. And apparently, so does Brad Friedel. Yoga, it seems, is the key to staying in shape well in to your late thirties.
“I do yoga quite often. It’s been a really important part of my training regime. I’m not a big drinker, I eat the right foods,” said Friedel when he spoke to journalists during a media football session at Spurs’ Enfield training complex.
So who got the US shot-stopper into the increasingly fashionable fitness regime?
“It was a player who I used to play with, Barry Venison, at Galatasary. I visited him after I’d torn my quad one summer, did some rehab and he suggested I got into it.
“But I said ‘na’. I came back here and then some guys from Holland who I used to do some rehab work with started getting me involved in it.
“They said to me: ‘you’re 32 now, you’re core should be far more flexible than it is – it’s strong but tight and you’re going to continue to get all these injuries unless you do yoga, pilates and things like that.”
But it is not just exercises and stretches that have given the former Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa keeper longevity in his career. So what exactly are ‘the right foods’ for a top athlete to be consuming?
“Everyone’s body chemistry is different. I can go to the sports science department and see what I’m deficient in and what I’m not. My weight’s been the same for years but if you’re gaining or losing weight at two/three kilos a time every few weeks, it’s too much, so you have to go back to your diet.
“I’m not one for the protein only diets and things of that nature. I’m for well balanced food and if I have my blood work done and I’m deficient in Vitamin D, well, it’s because I live in England.”
Having been replaced as Spurs number one by Hugo Lloris last season, Friedel insists he is working on “more of a month to month scenario, rather than year by year” when it comes to prolonging his playing career.
But would the record-breaking shot stopper consider coaching at Spurs? Or perhaps even emulate Giggs by taking on a player/coaching role?
He said: “I think most people would love to be coaching at a club like this, but there would have to be jobs available and conversations, and they would have to want me and that’s not for me to talk about.
“My playing career is what I can talk about. This place will always have top coaches.
“In terms of player/coaching roles – am I interested? Of course. But it depends on the club’s philosophy and at the moment they have a coaching staff that is very, very good, and nothing along those lines have ever been discussed I can tell you.”
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