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Friedel already thinking of next Villa contract: I can play into 40s

Brad Friedel insists he's no stop-gap signing at Aston Villa.

The £2.5million buy from Blackburn is keen to keep playing well into his 40s and insists the time for rest will be when he retires.

Friedel signed a three-year deal with the midlands club last week.

He said: "Although I am 37 I have to say that I would never sign a contract that I did not feel I could fulfill to the best of my ability. People can see the longevity of some goalkeepers in the Premiership.

"If you are lucky with injuries and look after yourself you can enjoy a long career. Villa appears a young side and I hope to bring some experience to the team. I haven't missed a game for four years. I just love playing games. I never see the reason why I need a rest. I will be able to rest when I retire.

"If I feel as I do now I will be happy to sign a new contract to take me into my 40s and keep playing. If I keep myself fit and the manager is happy with my performances there is no reason why I shouldn't keep playing."

Friedel has revealed that Villa boss Martin O'Neill was the key factor in his decision to move.

He could have linked up again with former Blackburn boss Mark Hughes at Manchester City.

But the United States international added: "There was interest from Manchester City but I was given permission to speak to Aston Villa. I had previously had a great time with Mark Hughes and the Blackburn staff and I have great admiration for them.

"But once I had sat in the same room as Martin O'Neill and the Villa owner Randy Lerner it was an easy decision. Once I had come to the conclusion in my mind that I was prepared to leave Blackburn, where I had been for eight years, it was straightforward to sign a contract with Villa. The professionalism they have and their ambitions to go forward were fantastic.

"The negotiations were not long or hard. They were straightforward and amicable. Villa Park is one of the grounds I always looked forward to playing at.

"It has a big club feel about it when you turn up at the ground and I am really looking forward to my first game."

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