Utaka - It's all lies
John Utaka says he is fully committed to Portsmouth following reports linking him with a return to France.
By James Dall
Last Updated: 08/09/08 12:05pm
John Utaka has insisted he is fully committed to Portsmouth following rumours linking him with a return to France.
The Nigerian forward joined Pompey from Rennes for £7million in 2007 but struggled for form during his debut campaign at the club.
Rumours over the summer had claimed Utaka could be in line for a transfer to Lille, but the 26-year-old is adamant that there was no truth in the speculation.
He told The News: "The stuff about me leaving was all lies. I've had people asking me about it and I've had to tell them it was not true.
"I've come here to improve my game. I've come here to get better and better. There is no such idea of me going back to France.
"I've been asked about it and it's a lot of rubbish. None of it is true. I wasn't happy when I heard the talk, because it wasn't true.
"I felt like someone was gossiping behind my back. Anyway, I have cleared it up now. I am here now and will be here."
Meanwhile, right-back Lauren believes he is ready to shine at Fratton Park this season after making just 11 Premier League starts last term.
The former Arsenal defender said: "I feel much better now. I feel much stronger than last year and I feel more committed. My head is at the club now.
"I want to be part of things and not waste my time like I did last year. I have one more year to go here. I'm not worried about anything.
"I needed to be more committed to the team. I have to be honest with myself, but the coach has to be honest.
"I am honest. I have not been 100 per cent committed. But they have to be honest too. When I have felt ready I have not come into the team."