Poulsen: I have a lot to prove
New Liverpool midfielder Christian Poulsen believes he has plenty to prove after his move from Juventus despite being a vastly-experienced international.
The 30-year-old player has won 77 caps for Denmark and has been a mainstay in Europe's top leagues for the last eight years, having featured for Schalke in the Bundesliga and Sevilla in La Liga before moving on to Italy's Serie A with his former employers.
He has even played under Reds boss Roy Hodgson before, when the Englishman signed him prior to FC Copenhagen's title-winning season of 2000/1. However, that does not mean the combative midfielder will rest on his laurels - especially as some fans will need some convincing he can plug the gap expected to be left by wantaway Argentina captain Javier Mascherano.
"With this move here I have a lot to prove," said the veteran of two FIFA World Cups™, who has signed a three-year contract after joining for an initial fee of £4.5 million with another £1 million payable on certain conditions. "If you come to a club like Liverpool, you have to deliver. I will hopefully show I can be a good player for Liverpool."
Poulsen is eager to rekindle his good working relationship with Hodgson, having previously enjoyed success under the Englishman - albeit it in the slightly lower-profile Danish Superliga. "I had two good years with him so I hope to carry that on, and hopefully he'll be satisfied with my qualities," said Denmark's player of the year in 2006 and 2007.
"He's a manager who's been all over the world and has a lot of experience, so of course I have a lot of respect for him," he went on. "Roy didn't have to say that much because Liverpool is known all around the world, and for people in Denmark, Liverpool are the biggest club in England."
Poulsen trained with his new team-mates soon after completing his move but Sunday's English Premier League opener at home to Arsenal may come too soon for him. Hodgson has previously suggested should Mascherano still be at the club - and no suitable bids have been received - by this weekend then he would be in contention to face the Gunners.
That may mean Poulsen has to wait for his debut, although he stressed that despite returning to training late because of FIFA World Cup involvement he is ready when called upon. "I started a little bit later because of the World Cup but I've done pre-season with Juventus," he said. "I didn't play the last matches in the Europa League because of the move to this club. I am feeling fit but of course it's a decision for the manager and the staff."
Poulsen has earned something of an abrasive reputation but he insists there is more to his game than just being a midfield destroyer. "I like also to play technical football. I see myself as a player who tries to play football but I can also make a tackle," he explained.
Hodgson is still hoping to bolster his squad further but claims a fee had been agreed for Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad Jones, for whom Liverpool had a £2 million bid turned down last week, have been dismissed by the Teessiders.