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It won’t take Fernando Torres long to find his feet - Pepe Reina

It won’t take Fernando Torres long to find his feet - Pepe Reina

Jul 27 2007

by Ian Doyle in Hong Kong, Liverpool Daily Post

Fernando Torres

THE Hong Kong public have been forced to be patient, but Pepe Reina believes Liverpool won’t have to wait long for Fernando Torres to start justifying his club record transfer fee.

The £18million striker will make his belated bow in the Barclays Asia Trophy today after being granted international clearance to play in the competition.

Torres will come up against Premier League opposition for the first time since his move when Rafael Benitez’s side take on Portsmouth in the final.

It’s likely to be an eye-opener for the 23-year-old, who until now has plied his trade solely in La Liga with Atletico Madrid.

Of course, memories are still fresh of the last striker to swap the Spanish sunshine for the blood and thunder of the Premier League with Liverpool.

Few doubted the credentials of Fernando Morientes when he arrived for £6million from Real Madrid in January 2005.

But the Spain international’s classy touches were too often overwhelmed by the pace and physical nature of English football, before making a successful return to his homeland with Valencia. Reina, though, believes a similar fate will not befall his compatriot Torres, with the goalkeeper confident his new team-mate has the mental strength to cope with the demands of his first season in a foreign country.

“I hope Fernando is going to cause defences a lot of problems this season,” says Reina. “It’s always difficult for new players to adapt in the first year but we’re going to try and make it as easy for him as possible and hopefully he’ll score a lot of goals.

“He’s got the firepower – he’s a top quality player. There was a lot of pressure on him before at Atletico Madrid and he handled it so I don’t think it will be a problem for him here. He’s a great lad, he’s understanding English football very early, he’s learning the language and he’s very strong mentally.”

With such a strong Spanish connection at Anfield, Torres is unlikely to have much problem settling in at the training ground.

However, Reina says the player will have to discover for himself the unique nature of the English game, with Torres almost certain to be a prime target for opposing defences this season.

“I’ve spoken to him about a lot of things but he’ll find out about the opponents at the right moment – I can’t explain what he’s going to find because I don’t want to scare him,” adds the goalkeeper. “He’ll learn as he goes along. He’s going to be ready to step up to the challenge, I’m sure about that.”

It’s not just the Hong Kong locals that were left waiting for Torres. Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson yesterday claimed he became “fed up” hanging about for the striker to leave Atletico, somewhat conveniently overlooking the fact the player preferred a move to Anfield ahead of Old Trafford.

Nevertheless, Ferguson concedes Liverpool have bought wisely. “Over the past few years there has been some interest for us in Torres, but every time he signed a new contract,” says the United manager. “Sometimes you get fed up with that kind of thing. Torres is athletic, he’s brave enough and he’ll run the channels for them, which he did well in Madrid.

“He’s good in the air and has got a physique. He’s quicker than you think.”


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