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Mother nature keeps Friedel fighting fit

TOTTENHAM goalkeeper Brad Friedel may be the wrong side of 40, but feels as good as ever, with his parents providing the inspiration to kick on.

The American has been a Premier League player since moving to England in 1997, plying his trade for Liverpool, Blackburn and Aston Villa before joining Spurs two years ago.

Friedel has this season been displaced by summer signing Hugo Lloris after a spell as number one, meaning cup competitions provide his first team opportunities.

That will mean the veteran starts today at the San Siro, where Tottenham will look to secure safe passage to the Europa League quarter-finals against Inter Milan.

Spurs boast a 3-0 lead heading to Italy for a game that will be Friedel's sixth since penning a new deal to keep him at White Hart Lane until the age of 43.

"I feel as good as I ever have done," he said. "For me, age is just a number. "I feel the same after matches as I did when I was 24."

Even for a goalkeeper, Friedel's run at the top is impressive.

It is something for which he counts himself fortunate, pointing to his parents when asked about playing into his 40s.

"I was 41 last May, but I was built like my mum, Sue," Friedel said.

"If you look at my dad and my mum, my dad, Len, has had a tough go of life when it comes to illness and injury, but my mum has had nothing.

"I don't feel any different. When I go in for my medicals at the club, it is a very thin piece of paper.

"My mum is still a physical education teacher and has no signs of wanting to stop.

"She is 70 and teaches at an inner-city school from kindergarten – five or six – up to 14-year-olds.

"My dad has had everything. He has got Parkinson's, had a stroke. He has got a defibrillator fitted. A three-pronged pacemaker fitted. He has just had a rough go of things."