FRIEDEL'S NEW DEAL

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Brad Friedel's decision to sign an extension to his current contract at Blackburn is great news for the club as they prepare for the 2002-03 campaign.

 

The United States goalkeeper who saved two consecutive penalties in his country's march to the World Cup quarter-finals was in fine form in the Far East, cementing his position ahead of Kasey Keller as America's number one.

 

Opta monitored Friedel's contribution during the festival of football and can reveal that his tally of 18 saves was the joint-fifth most by a goalkeeper in the tournament and was instrumental in Bruce Arena's team to their best-ever finish at a World Cup since 1930.

 

On the domestic front, Friedel was an important figure as Rovers avoided relegation last season and won the Worthington Cup with a 2-1 win over Tottenham with the American being awarded the man-of-the-match trophy.

 

And only Republic of Ireland international Dean Kiely made more stops than Friedel in the Premiership in 2001-02 as Opta's exclusive table below demonstrates:

 

 

Rank

Player Name

Team

Saves Made

1

Dean Kiely

Charlton Athletic

140

2

Brad Friedel

Blackburn Rovers

126

3

Shay Given

Newcastle United

124

4

Ian Walker

Leicester City

121

5

Edwin Van der Sar

Fulham

113

 

 

 

Friedel's choice to put pen-to-paper on a new deal is hot on the heels of veteran defender Henning Berg's decision to commit himself to Blackburn for another season and with German youngster Marc Sebastian Pelzer arriving from Kaiserslautern, the future looks bright for Rovers.