Former Premier League goalkeeper Brad Friedel is backing Miguel Almiron to be a real hit at Newcastle – and has also also revealed how he signed at St James’ Park back in 1994; only to be denied a work permit.
Friedel – now 47 and coaching MLS side New England Revolution – made well over 500 appearances in the English top flight, but it turns out he was actually at Newcastle before spells with Liverpool, Blackburn, Aston Villa and Tottenham.
Here’s what Friedel then had to say when discussing his move to Newcastle that never was back in 1994, with him being sent from St James’ Park to Sweden after he was denied a work permit:
“I actually signed for Newcastle in 1994, but I wasn’t able to attain a work permit so I went from Newcastle to Brondby.
“I was playing for the USA, but they didn’t have an appeals process on the work permit, and you had to have played 75% of your national team’s games over the last two years.
“And when I had applied I think I was 22 years of age and I was the number two at the World Cup and only had 50/60%, but by the time I signed with Liverpool that’s when I had 75%.”
A real case of what could have been here – especially when he then went on to become one of the Premier League’s most consistent goalkeepers over the next 20 years!
Friedel then had this to say about the ‘exceptional’ Almiron following his big money move from the US to the UK – revealing why Atlanta’s loss will very much be our gain:
“Almiron may be a loss to Atlanta, but is a definite gain for Newcastle,”
“He was exceptional and the Atlanta scouting network did a fantastic job in bringing him and I know they paid a lot of money by MLS standards, and he did a fantastic job there”
“The Premier League is different; it’s very fast and physical but he has the tools to deal with it, to be very good in England.
“Any league in the world, it will take any player a little bit of adapting, but he has the potential to do very well over there.
“I think any team that signed him would have had someone to link up with him very well, and you’ll see his pace.”
It’s a real positive to hear that Friedel is backing Almiron to shine in England, especially when he’s someone who’ll know exactly how it differs in terms of speed and physicality when compared to football in the US.
Let’s hope he can hit the ground running in what could be his first start against Huddersfield on Saturday.