Blackburn boss Hughes: Friedel a Premiership great

Blackburn boss Mark Hughes believes keeper Brad Friedel deserves to be ranked among the greats to have played top-flight football in England.

The 36-year-old American this week signed an extension to his contract which will take his stay at Ewood Park up until 2010.

And Hughes said that was just reward for a sustained spell of excellence with Rovers.

"I had the pleasure of playing alongside him and I know the qualities that he has," said the former Wales boss.

"I'm delighted that I am able to call on him as a manager of Blackburn Rovers because over the years in my playing career I've had the fortune to play alongside the likes of Peter Schmeichel, Neville Southall and I very much view Brad in that same company.

"We are delighted (he has signed a new contract). He is a credit to himself and his profession in fairness.

"He has a great work ethic, is a great athlete and there is no reason why he can't keep on going."

Hughes had every confidence the former Liverpool and Columbus Crew keeper could stay at the top of his game until the end of his new contract - when he would be 39.

"I wouldn't bet against it. He's a fit young man - and I say that as somebody who is senior to him," he said.

"He works extremely hard every day he comes to training, he does extra work to enable him to maintain the level that he hits consistently season on season."

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