With Friedel’s Ohio roots, many thought he signed for Villa because of the link with Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner.
Friedel rejects that and says he only got to know Lerner when he came to Villa - and believes the owner’s connections with Martin O’Neill are more important.
“Mr Lerner is very well respected. I have never heard anyone say a bad word about him,“ said Friedel.
“He owns the Browns, he owns Aston Villa Football Club and he wants both teams to be as big as they can possibly be.”