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Pennant's chance to shine - PA Sport

Pennant's chance to shine - PA Sport
Jermaine Pennant knows that Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is a man in a hurry to improve his squad and must take every chance available to impress the Spaniard. Benitez, who proved to be a touch quick off the mark over his claims about Craig Bellamy's pending move to West Ham, clearly sees the minor technicalities of such deals as something for others to sort out. As far as Benitez is concerned, Bellamy has gone although West Ham on Saturday confirmed that the Welshman's transfer was not yet finalised. Djibril Cisse is also out and Pennant knows that there are wide midfielders waiting in the wings to challenge his position. Which is why a 45-minute cameo, admittedly against luckless young defenders from Wrexham, by Pennant in a 3-2 win at the Racecourse on Saturday will have done him no harm at all. Pennant, whose last game was in the Champions League final in Athens where he was Liverpool's star turn, created three goals in 19 minutes for young Austrian striker Besian Idrizaj to continue making his case for a key position in Benitez's plans. The Anfield boss has other options. He wants West Ham's Yossi Benayoun, who can operate on the right - Pennant's best position. And there is speculation that Benitez has bid £14m (A$32.8million) for Porto's right-winger Ricardo Quaresma, the 24 year-old former Sporting Lisbon and Barcelona right winger. Benitez was impressed by Pennant's showing against Wrexham. He said: "Pennant produced the kind of play that I like, wingers going forward and crossing. He can do this job perfectly." "He played really well in the Champions League final, and he has now started the pre-season really well also." Pennant knows he must maintain this productive form or he will be overtaken by Benitez's desire to boost his squad. The niceties of Bellamy's final departure - he did not ask for a transfer and clearly feels he is entitled to his contracted pay-off - were obviously not on Benitez's radar when he announced the move to West Ham had been "signed, completed. It is done." Bellamy and his advisors will sort out the final details on Monday after a £7.5m (A$17.6million) move, medical and personal terms have been agreed. West Ham were not impressed by Benitez's announcement, and sought to clarify the situation within hours of the Liverpool manager's pronouncements in North Wales. Having spent £20m (A$46.9million) on Fernando Torres, as well as making enquiries about Benayoun, Benitez said: "We do not need a lot more in terms of new players for next season, maybe two new faces." "We do have a lot of young players, and maybe some will go out on loan because we do not have enough games for them." "On Benayoun, we must wait and see what happens, I like him as a player yes, maybe we could find another player, but with him I would be happy." Only Steve Finnan, Alvaro Arbeloa, Pennant and Mohamed Sissoko from Liverpool's seniors were on show in the match, leaving a host of youngsters were left to impress. And despite Idrizaj's treble, the 19-year-old was left in no doubt that Benitez's expects more. "He should have scored four" said the Spaniard. Idrizaj wasted a glorious chance after completing his hat-trick, rounding Tony Williams but snatching the ball away from a better positioned Jordy Brouwer. Benitez instantly pulled the youngster to the touchline to explain his error. Such are the high demands now at a club brimming with young pretenders. They are either the bulk of the youth side who have won the FA Youth Cup in successive seasons, or the young prospects gleaned from across Europe and South America by Benitez's scouts. Only a few will make it. Many will go out on loan this coming season, the first being winger Paul Anderson who will start a season-long move to Swansea on Monday. Benitez says: "Idrizaj is a player with great talent, we know that. He scored three but knows it should have been four." "He needs to mature in some aspects of his game, but we are happy with him and hope he continues to progress." "He could be a first-team player of the future, but it depends on him." "We have some youngsters who are good enough, but they will have to improve, be stronger and come to terms with the style of the game in England. But yes, they need strength and can improve but they will need time." He added: "Anderson will go to Swansea, it underlines that we have many young players now and he will benefit from playing regularly at a higher level, it will be good for his experience." For next Saturday's friendly at Crewe, most of the big stars will be on show, minus Torres who will join his new colleagues at their Swiss training camp the following week. Benitez says: "The international players will probably play at Crewe. Torres will join us in Switzerland."


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