Tottenham No1 Friedel: Galatasaray experience set up my career

Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel says his famous composure comes from his time playing in Turkey. Friedel admits the experience helped him develop a "skin of leather".

Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel says his famous composure comes from his time playing in Turkey.

Friedel admits the experience helped him develop a "skin of leather".

"I think my time in Turkey in the mid-Nineties, at Galatasaray, was really important," he told the Daily Mail. "Experience is crucial when it comes to coping with pressure and I think I developed that skin of leather when I was out there, early in my career.

"It was manic in Istanbul. The Ali Sami Yen stadium. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced an atmosphere like it, particularly when it came to playing Besiktas or Fenerbahce.

"Galatasaray was an amazing place to play football. I always had a great relationship with the fans. In those days they were restricted to the three foreigner rule so they had a lot of time for their foreign players. But if you lost, even if it wasn’t your fault, you were dirt.

"I remember after losing one derby the fans tried to roll our bus, while we were inside it. There were enough of them to do it; the thing was tipping from side to side, until the police arrived with their shields and batons. It was crazy."

Nothing, however, was crazier than the scene he discovered on returning home from a win over Fenerbahce.

"The windows of my apartment had been smashed," he says. "On the floor I found bricks painted with Fenerbahce colours. Fortunately it was before I had a wife and young children. I just called the club and got things sorted out. But, again, it was pretty crazy.

"I think it was the same for all the foreign players. When I first arrived it was me, Dean Saunders and Barry Venison. Graeme Souness was in charge. Barry didn’t last too long. Just a couple of months."

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