Date: 4th September 2008 at 3:53pm
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Brad Friedel has explained on the official site how Seamus McDonagh was the first goalkeeping coach he worked with when he moved to England back in 1992 and how good it is to have joined up again with his mentor.

McDonagh was the goalie coach with Nottingham Forest when Friedel left the US for good ol Blighty, and trained with him once or twice a week back in the days of Cloughie.

Both have met at regular intervals as they progressed their careers and remain good friends so when the opportunity for Brad to link up with Seamus again came along, he certainly wasn’t going to say no.

‘Seamus was my first coach in this country when I arrived from the US. I trained with him once or twice a week at Nottingham Forest when Cloughie was the manager.

‘So I’ve known Seamus for many, many years. Whenever I’ve played against a team he’s been at, we’ve always chatted.

‘It’s nice to be working with him again – and being on the same team!

‘He’s a great character. The relationship between the goalkeeping coach and his pool of goalkeepers is a really important one.

‘It always seems to be good. I think that’s because it’s a specialist position – really the only one on the pitch.’

Since joining ‘thread bare Villa’, Friedel has been impressed the both the number and the quality of signings that O’Neill has made.

‘There has been competition for places at every club I have played at. That is part and parcel of Premier League football.

‘That’s a great thing because it focuses your mind and keeps you on your toes.

‘Some people, with no competition, get complacent.

‘When I first arrived at Villa we had a fairly small squad. But now we have a larger one with a great competition for places, which is healthy.

‘No-one can let training sessions or games pass them by because they simply won’t get into the team. That can only improve the squad’s performances.’