Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Deposed Giant Campbell Has It All to Prove; Sol Campbell's Last Season Was Blighted by Injuries and Even Manager Arsene Wenger Admits the Defender Became 'Insecure'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Deposed Giant Campbell Has It All to Prove; Sol Campbell's Last Season Was Blighted by Injuries and Even Manager Arsene Wenger Admits the Defender Became 'Insecure'

Article excerpt

Byline: STEVE STAMMERS

ARSENE WENGER admitted today that this is a make-or-break season for Sol Campbell. Just over a year ago Campbell was ranked among the best central defenders in Europe after his magnificent efforts for England in the European Championships.

However, little has gone right since and he approaches the coming season as he ended the last one: injured.

Even when he regained his fitness approaching the climax to last season, there was another setback lurking. Wenger left him on the bench for the FA Cup Final against Manchester United.

The form of Kolo Toure and Philippe Senderos in central defence convinced Wenger that he didn't need to recall the England star to the first team, a decision which reportedly left Campbell fuming.

This has inevitably raised questions over Campbell's long-term future at the club and rumours surfaced in the summer that a move from Highbury, possibly to Sunday's opening Premiership opponents Newcastle, was on the cards.

A calf injury means he will miss the first month of the new season and even when he regains fitness he will have to dislodge Toure or Senderos to get his place back.

But, according to Wenger, Campbell is showing the right spirit to do just that.

"This is a very big season for him," said Wenger. "He really has the hunger to come back quickly. Look, Sol is a proud man who has brought a lot to this club.

"He had a bad season and I think he is the first to acknowledge that.

He has been hurt and there is only one way to respond when you are a champion - when he has his back to the wall, he can fight.

"I think Sol is used to being a toplevel player and used to being treated as one - and rightly so. Last year was a shock for him because he expected a good season and he didn't have one because he had many injuries. …

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