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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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Guzan backed to be USA No.1

Brad Guzan is being backed to oust Tim Howard as USA's first-choice goalkeeper by Aston Villa and international team-mate Eric Lichaj.

• Blog: US back on track

• Mexico-Guyana moved to Phoenix

Guzan has won his battle with Shay Given for the number one role under Paul Lambert at Villa Park this season, just months after it looked like the 28-year-old would leave Villa Park.

The former Chicago Fire 'keeper has been in outstanding form for his club and is now ready to push Everton's Howard for the top international spot according to Villa team-mate Lichaj. Lichaj grew up playing with Guzan in Chicago and believes it is only a matter of time before Howard is under serious pressure to keep his place during the world cup qualifiers.

"I think right now he's No.2 with the USA, but of course he can challenge (for No.1)," said Lichaj.

"He's a really good goalkeeper and I always knew that so hopefully he can challenge for it and get the No.1 spot for USA as well.

"He's a hard worker, kind of like me, no matter what happens he's always going to be working hard. He's waited for his opportunity and I'm glad he's taking it."

Guzan briefly became a free agent in the summer as he let his contract run down due to his lack of opportunities behind Given and former goalkeeper Brad Friedel, but was persuaded to sign a new deal by Lambert.

Lichaj feels the confidence Guzan is gaining from being Lambert's first choice can only help his long term international ambitions.

"He's very, very vocal and if something's wrong he'll make sure that he lets you know and you'll hear him," said Lichaj.

"Usually at the end of the games he's lost his voice and we have to tell him to be quiet – just messing around.

"It's not quite got to the stage where I'm hearing his voice in my sleep, he's not that bad, but he's good on the pitch and a good guy off the field as well."

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