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Football | Barclays Premier League

'Foreigners made EPL more delicate'

The English Premier League has become more "delicate" due to more players coming from different cultures, Brad Friedel, the former US international goalkeeper who plays for Tottenham Hotspur, said on Friday.

Friedel, 41, whose record run of 310 successive Premier League appearances ended recently, told talkSPORT radio the League had changed hugely since he first played in it in the 1990s.

"The football's a lot more delicate than it was 20 years ago. But a while back we didn't have the influx of foreigners.

"Obviously I'm a foreigner, and when you get people from different places and different cultures they are used to being treated in a different manner.

"It's not every culture around the world that you can have a go at someone and shake hands two minutes later. Here, that was definitely the culture, and that has changed."

Friedel, who played for Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa before moving to Spurs in June last year, is still Spurs' No.1 keeper enjoying what he has called a "friendly rivalry" with new teammate Hugo Lloris, the France keeper, for the spot.

He also spoke about facing champions Manchester City on Sunday with games against arch-rivals Arsenal, West Ham United and Liverpool on the horizon.

"A lot of the time people say: 'Tough run of games coming up' but I think the opposite - I think those are the great games. If we can get maximum points out of those games then we'll be in a really healthy position in the league.

"We hope it's a battle for higher than fourth. You have to believe. We can't really be focused on Arsenal, we have to look at Manchester City. It's not in the mentality of Tottenham players to go out and try to draw."

Tottenham bounced back from a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Wigan Athletic last weekend which led to them slipping from fourth to sixth, with a fine 3-1 win over NK Maribor in the Europa League on Thursday, and Friedel said the team were fully united behind new coach Andre Villas-Boas.

"To be honest with you I heard a lot of stories from his time at Chelsea but - I'm being really honest here - he told the lads right from the start that he has an open-door policy, and you can knock on his door at any time.

"You can talk to him about anything that you want to talk about."


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