sport

Guzan taking his second chance

Brad Guzan is determined to make the most of his second chance at Aston Villa and earn a place in the USA's World Cup squad.

The keeper is now the undisputed No 1 at Villa Park and he is vying with Everton's Tim Howard to be USA boss Jurgen Klinsmann's first choice in Brazil next year.

Kuzan's prospects did not look so promising in May last year. Kuzan found out from the club website that his contract had not been renewed and he packed his bags and returned to the States.

But the arrival of Paul Lambert as the new manager in the summer of 2012 was the catalyst for a turnaround in fortunes that will - barring injury - propel him to the World Cup.

Lambert called him back to Birmingham for talks, he was awarded a new deal, and Guzan finished last season as the club's player of the year.

"When you see it (the announcement) that technically you are out of a job and anyone will tell you inside or outside of football that when you don't have a job it's not a good feeling," Guzan told the Telegraph.

"There were a few other options but, for me, the priority was to come back to Villa because I still felt I had more to give to the club regardless of the situation that had developed about not playing, not being in the team.

"There was never a doubt in my mind that I didn't have the ability to play at this level and be successful. But, in football, sometimes things don't always go your way. Maybe it has a different plan for you."

Guzan says he enjoys Lambert's footballing philosophy: "He gives the players the freedom to go out and express themselves, to play without fear and to go out and get a result regardless of whether we are playing a top-four team or a team at the bottom."

That philosophy is mirrored by Klinsmann, and Guzan said: "Brazil is a chance to go and do something special. We will go full of confidence and hopefully upset a few teams.

"You guys probably don't understand how big it is for an American to come to England and have the opportunity to play in the Premier League and for me to be at a club like Aston Villa, that's the cherry on top."