Friedel sets Premier League consecutive games mark
BIRMINGHAM, England -- American goalkeeper Brad Friedel of Aston Villa made a record 167th consecutive Premier League appearance Saturday against Fulham. The 37-year-old, who started the streak in August 2004 with Blackburn, overtook the previous record set by Portsmouth's David James in April. He earned a third straight shutout in the 0-0 draw. "Is it nice that I have been able to get a run of games? Yes, absolutely, but I hope to have many more games ahead of me," Friedel said. "I have never appeared in a game hoping to attain an appearance record. I appear because I am under contract to play football and I love football. "It really hadn't entered my mind until recently when the statisticians said I have a chance to break the record." Work permit issues forced Friedel to bounce around Europe and the United States -- playing for Galatasary, Brondby and the Columbus Crew -- before finally joining Liverpool in December 1997. He struggled to start for the Anfield team and in 2000 joined Blackburn, where he spent eight years before seeking a new challenge at Villa. "It is remarkable in this day and age, whether you are a 'keeper or not, to play that number of games consecutively. It is fantastic," Villa manager Martin O'Neill said. "Well done to him. During the last eight or nine years, from leaving Liverpool to the career he has had at Blackburn, Brad Friedel has been so consistent. "Last year was maybe his best ever season and he wants to try and emulate that this year for us." Friedel also played 82 games for the United States from 1992-2004. "I have been fortunate with injuries, touch wood, and when I have got the odd knock it has always seemed to coincide with international breaks," Friedel said. "Since I retired from international football, I have managed to rest up between domestic games, too."