Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Flying Pennant Is out to Prove Point

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Flying Pennant Is out to Prove Point

Article excerpt

Byline: RAOUL SIMONS

WHATEVER the result at the Stadium of Light tomorrow, it will be the last Watford fans see of Jermaine Pennant. Assuming, of course, he doesn't return on loan for a third time next season.

The England Under-21 midfielder will complete his latest spell with the Hornets following the fifthround FA Cup tie, three months after leaving Highbury for the second time. Pennant was also at Vicarage Road last year under previous manager Gianluca Vialli.

Football League rules mean that even if Watford beat Sunderland he will not be allowed to stay for the quarterfinals.

"If we get through I will be very pleased to have been part of it, and I will be cheering them on against whoever they get in the next round," said Pennant, who is hoping to overcome an Achilles problem in time to play.

"The Cup run has helped the club massively and if we can perform like we did against West Brom in the last round then we have a great chance of beating Sunderland."

With so many star names ahead of him in the Highbury pecking order, Pennant could be forgiven for contemplating a permanent move elsewhere.

Highbury graduates Matthew Upson and Steve Sidwell recently left north London for first-team football at other clubs, while Pennant's England Under-21 namesakes Defoe and Jenas are now Premiership regulars.

But the 20-year-old midfielder insists he is staying put and, for that, Arsenal fans should be grateful to his "brother" Ashley Cole.

Not only is the England left-back Pennant's best friend, but his rise from trainee to World Cup star also gives hope to a pound sterling2 million signing who is yet to start a league game for the Gunners.

Pennant said: "We hang around together a lot. It got to the stage at Arsenal training where if Ashley was not there, Patrick (Vieira) or Thierry (Henry) would say to me, 'Where's your brother?' "Ashley is a great example. He was also at the club from a very young age. When Silvinho got injured, he got his chance, did very well and has kept his place ever since. For me it's the same except there are some great players in my position so it's going to be hard, but if I'm patient I'm sure my chance will come. …

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