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Brad Friedel on Nick Pope’s suspension: “It’s unfortunate, but it’s a red card”

The former Premier League goalie shared his opinion about Nick Pope’s red card against Liverpool

Former Premier League goalkeeper and United States international Brad Friedel recently spoke to Ben Mendelowitz of Sporting Post and touched on multiple topics.

While not a Newcastle-focused interview, as the links between the former player and the club are not tight, he still discussed a couple of issues regarding the Magpies' upcoming Carabao Cup final against Manchester United.

Friedel was close to joining Newcastle back in the mid-90s. So much so, that Kevin Keegan indeed signed him only for the poor man to ultimately get his move denied with work-permit issues. While awaiting the final decision about his transfer to Tyneside, Friedl trained with Keegan’s side but he couldn’t complete the move.

The goalkeeper would finally sign with Brondby of the Danis Superliga in 1995, although he would never make an appearance for the club always remaining on the bench. He would finally arrive in England in 1997 by way of Turkiye’s Galatasaray and USA’s Columbus Crew, signing with Liverpool.

Friedl had a prolific career while in the British Islands playing for the Reds, Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa, and Tottenham Hotspur.

Here are some excerpts from Brad Friedl’s recent interview and some of the thoughts he shared with S:P.

Asked about his mentality when playing a game before a final, knowing that seeing a red card would mean a suspension...

Of course, a lot has been said and written about Nick Pope’s mad rush toward the ball to prevent Mo Salah from reaching it, with the dangerous run outside of his area leading up to the slip and the handling ending in a red card.

Should Pope have stayed put in his zone, or at least managed the decision better thinking about the game against Manchester United?

“I never thought about the next game even if it was a final,” Friedl made clear. “I just took one game at a time and didn’t even think about the idea of getting sent off and then missing the final.”

Friedl speaks from experience here, as he faced the same situation two times ahead of finals with Blackburn in 2002 and Aston Villa in 2010.

Asked about Nick Pope’s red card and his opinion about the play and the referee’s decision...

“I think it’s unfortunate—but it’s a red card,” stated Friedl. “Just one of those things that happen,” the keeper added.”

The former goalie thinks that “Pope has been outstanding this year.” He also thinks Pope has been “one of their best and most consistent performers of the season,” and that “he had a slip, made a mistake.” Friedl, again, made clear that “the referee made the correct decision.”

Asked about whether the rules should change in order to avoid situations like this, in which a Premier League red card prevents a player from playing a cup final...

“I do think the rule is harsh, to miss a final. I understand missing the next Premier League game, but I don’t think that should go into a non-Premier League match,” said Friedl. “But that’s the rule,” he finished.

Brad Friedl also thinks that “the referee made the correct decision,” although he acknowledged that “it’s a harsh rule that [Pope] is going to miss the Carabao Cup final, but that’s how it goes.”

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