In 2012, Friend joined the Middlesbrough F.C. and went on to win the team's annual award for best player. Previously, he had played for the Wolverhampton Wanderers and the Doncaster Rovers.
He began his youth career with Exeter City in 2005 and also played loan seasons with Tiverton Town and Team Bath.
During the 2011 to 2012 season, he served as captain of the Doncaster Rovers.
He spent his early years in Barnstaple, Devon, England.
He and Ben Gibson both played for Middlesbrough during the early years of the 2010s.