Tottenham Hotspur look set to put Brad Friedel in goal today against Lyon. Why? Because they can.
When Hugo Lloris first joined Tottenham Hotspur from Olympique Lyon he was made the back-up. He got to start in the Europa League, but Premier League matches belong solely to incumbent Brad Friedel. Finally, due to some late game struggles from Friedel and the defense as a whole Lloris was able to claim the number one spot and hasn't looked back since. So, why is he now being pushed to the bench for this Europa League tie?
Squad rotation serves a couple of purposes. First, it helps get tired players some rest. second, it helps players that need experience or "blooding in" get some match time. Finally, it keeps players who are the fringes of the squad happy. Goalkeepers should rarely be tired. It's not like they're running around for 90 minutes. Heck, sometimes they have time to screw around with the substitutes. So, goalkeepers don't need to be rotated to ease fatigue. Additionally, Brad Friedel is about as experienced a player as you're going to find. He hardly needs matches to help his development. So, that leaves only the final purpose, keeping Friedel happy.
Friedel has said all along that he supports the club's decisions and is ready to perform whatever role is asked of him. He seems to be the consumate professional. While no one wants to sit on the bench and not play, Friedel hardly strikes me as the type to cause any sort of locker room discord by agitating for more playing time. I firmly believe that no matter how much we play Friedel he will be leaving in the summer. His style of play doesn't mesh well with the new system employed by Villas-Boas. Friedel's age, his desire for first-team football, and his poor fit with the system all seem to point to an exit from the club.
If Friedel is likely to leave in the summer, then what is the point of playing him? Especially if Andre Villas-Boas' goal is to win the Europa League. We've all seen the difference in the squad with Lloris in goal. We're much more sound defensively with the Frenchman in goal. A squad with Brad Friedel in goal is not going to get Tottenham to the Amsterdam Arena. Let's have some continuity and not worry about Brad. Put out best players out on the pitch and go for it Andre. Stop messing around.