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Jermaine Pennant keen to fill left slot for England

Jermaine Pennant keen to fill left slot for England

Sep 3 2007

by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo

JERMAINE PENNANT pulled a flanker on demoralised Derby County on Saturday – and now he wants to do the same for England.

The Reds winger produced a sparkling display after switching from right to left in Liverpool’s 6-0 triumph, and with a growing clamour for a call-up to Steve McClaren’s England squad, he says he would be delighted to fill the notoriously problematic left side role for the national team.

“Would I play left-wing for England? “Definitely. You could put me right-back if you want to,” he declared. “It’s nice to hear the manager say I should be in the England squad and if I continue to do what I’m doing, and get the Press behind me, who knows!

“I don’t mind playing anywhere – left or right. When I’m on the left I get a little bit of joy cutting in on my right foot.

“But the gaffer sees the game better sitting on the bench and he decides what’s best for the team.”

Pennant was in irresistible form after Benitez switched him with Ryan Babel after 20 minutes, running the unfortunate Derby rearguard ragged.

David Bentley, a former team-mate of Pennant’s at Arsenal, was the new face in McClaren’s England squad for the Euro 2008 double-header against Israel and Russia and the Anfield star joked: “I used to play with David at Arsenal. He’s a good player, but he can’t do what I can do! We’ll have to see what happens.”

Pennant was an influential part of a dominant Liverpool display on Saturday and he was delighted with the 6-0 scoreline.

“Last year we weren’t really taking our chances,” he explained “but I thought today almost every chance we got we punished and the scoreline shows that.

“If we’d been even more clinical it could have been in the eights or nines.

“But the gaffer’s pleased, the lads are pleased and I’m sure the fans are happy as well.

“Everyone wants to play and everyone wants to do their best so when you’ve got someone snapping at your heels you can’t ease off on your performance. You’ve got to be on your game.”

Pennant’s own form has been outstanding so far, following his impressive end to the 2006/07 campaign, and he added: “I feel like I’m getting my defensive work better now. I don’t really like doing it! But I know I’ve got to do it.

“I feel like I’m more consistent. But that all comes with confidence and I’ve got that now.

“I know what’s expected of me and I’m enjoying it

“You can’t get carried away with a 6-0 win, because it’s only four or five games into the season. There’s still 30-odd to go but we’re still very happy with the result.

“I just want to carry on my form from the end of last season and I think I’m doing that.

“The boss is pleased with my form at the moment and if I can continue that hopefully I can keep him happy and the fans happy.

“I think it’s difficult to settle in at any club. You need to get to know the players, the surroundings and how the boss wants you to play.

“Not many players go to a new team and click straight away. Ronaldo took a season to settle at Manchester United, Thierry Henry was the same at Arsenal.

“I feel I’m comfortable here now. I know my role and I feel like part of the team and I’m just going to go for it.”


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