Football: KEOWN WOULD BE TOP GUN AS MAN-MARKER.(Sport)

Sunday Mirror (London, England), May 19, 2002 | Go to article overview

Football: KEOWN WOULD BE TOP GUN AS MAN-MARKER.(Sport)


Byline: ANTHONY CLAVANE

ASHLEY COLE thinks Sven Goran Eriksson has the ideal secret weapon to take out Freddie Ljungberg in England's World Cup opener against Sweden - Martin Keown.

Arsenal left-back Cole has seen club team-mate Ljungberg's brilliance at close quarters this season and agrees with Eriksson that the star with the red streak in his hair is a big threat.

Which is why Cole recommends putting Keown on Freddie in Saitama on June 2.

The Arsenal wonderkid said: "How do you stop Freddie Ljungberg? That is a very good question.

"He's been outstanding but hopefully his batteries will have run down by the England-Sweden game and he won't be able to do any more.

"For Sweden he plays behind the front two so he'll be causing all sorts of problems. But I think we've got the players here capable of marking anyone.

"If Martin Keown had that job to do he'd be up for it. I think he'd do it well. I know Freddie won't be happy with that.

"But Freddie's been outstanding all season and, if I do play, he'll be on the other side and not come near me. With his work-rate he deserves everything he gets. It's just a pity he's going to go on to a World Cup now."

Eriksson rates Keown one of the best man-markers around, so Cole's plea to use his Highbury colleague might not fall on deaf ears.

The 21-year-old defender knows he is England's first choice at left-back, but admits he has to be on his toes with Wayne Bridge's recent emergence. In fact, the game which secured World Cup qualification for Eriksson's side - the 2-2 draw against Greece at Old Trafford - was ironically a low-point in Cole's fledgling international career. …

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