LONDON — For the first day of practice in London, Brad Guzan was the elder statesman of the USA’s talented goalkeeping core.
That’s something he hasn’t been used to over the years with Tim Howard first-choice and MLS veteran Nick Rimando challenging Guzan for the back-up job.
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However at a rainy Motspur Park on Monday, the training ground of Fulham FC, Guzan bellowed louder than most and was constantly dishing out encouragement during the U.S. national team’s training game as Jurgen Klinsmann’s men begin a week of preparations before their match against Colombia on Friday Nov. 14 at Craven Cottage then against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Nov. 18.
With Rimando set to arrive in the UK on Tuesday, Guzan practiced alongside MLS youngsters Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid with goalkeeping coach Chris Woods. How does it feel to be the experienced head at the age of 30, Brad?
“The training has been good. We have always had a good group of goalkeepers,” Guzan said. “Nothing really changes in that aspect. We continue to try and push each other. I try and help out where I can but ultimately, we have always had a good group.”
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When asked by ProSoccerTalk about Howard’s self-imposed sabbatical until next September thrusting him forward as the “main man” in net for the U.S., Guzan was coy about his chances of being a guaranteed starter.
“You just relish the opportunity to play games, that’s what it is about,” Guzan said. “It is about trying to put yourself in a position to help the team and play as many games as you can. Ultimately it is up to the manager and the coaches to pick the team. Hopefully if your name is in the team selection, you want to do a good job and get a good result.”
As for Guzan’s season so far with Villa, the Illinois native put in a tremendous display on Saturday to stop the Villains’ six-game losing streak as they recorded a 0-0 draw away at West Ham. Guzan pulled off a fantastic late stop from Andy Carroll to help his side to a point and was named in the Premier League team of the week but he is focused on his team pulling together rather than his own performances.
“It would be a bit better if we picked up a few more results,” Guzan said of his own form this season. “Saying that, there’s a lot of football to be played throughout the rest of the season. Hopefully we have stopped the rut now with results not going our way. With a positive result at West Ham we will looked to build upon that.”
ProSoccerTalk will be with the USA in London all week ahead of their game against Colombia at Craven Cottage on Friday. Stay in touch with the latest news, here.