In his new autobiography, Tim Howard claims that fellow U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel "actively tried to block" Howard's 2003 transfer from Major League Soccer to Manchester United, according to ESPN FC.
Friedel denied the allegation and told ESPN FC he wanted Howard to apologize.
Howard's book, The Keeper, is set to be released on Tuesday. According to the Everton goalkeeper's account of the incident, Friedel -- at the time playing for Blackburn Rovers of the Premier League -- refused to sign a statement vouching for Howard and also tried to block his move to Old Trafford.
At the time, Howard was playing for the MetroStars in MLS. Manchester United paid $4 million to acquire the young American goalkeeper.
From Howard's book, as excerpted by ESPN FC:
[Friedel] hadn't merely refused to sign a statement on my behalf, he had actively tried to block my transfer. He'd written to the appeals committee suggesting that I shouldn't be given a work permit at all."
Friedel told ESPN FC that Howard's story is "complete garbage." Friedel gives a much different account of what happened when he was given a letter regarding Howard's impending transfer.
"So I got a call from Bruce Arena. He said, 'Brad, would you sign this letter on behalf of Tim Howard?' I said sure," Friedel said. "It was sent to me, and the only thing that was true on it was my name. The letter was full of exaggerations that the people on the PFA [Professional Footballers' Association] and appeals committee would have seen through.
"Yes, I refused to sign that. We got the letter and said 'We have to change this, because this isn't true.' We made our changes and sent it back. They didn't like what I was going to sign, so they didn't use it. And that was the end of the matter. There were a lot of rumors going around that I signed or got a petition together -- some nonsense like that -- against Tim Howard after he got granted his work permit.
The elder American keeper said that he never did anything to jeopardize Howard's transfer to Manchester United.
Howard made 45 appearances for United before moving permanently to Everton in 2007, where he has played since. Howard was the United States' No. 1 goalkeeper in both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.
Friedel, 43, has played professionally in England since 1997. He has suited up for Liverpool, Blackburn, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur, where he still holds a reserve role.
- Stanley Kay