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Liverpool 17:30 Arsenal

Cesc staying grounded

By Tom Adams.   Last Updated: 27/10/06 8:55pm

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Cesc Fabregas has told Sky Sports News in an exclusive interview that he is determined to stay grounded amongst a flood of plaudits.

The Catalan midfielder recently signed a new eight-year deal with Arsenal to tie his long term future to Arsene Wenger, and his performances so far this season have been vastly impressive after a summer in which he became Spain's youngest ever player at a World Cup finals.

The 19-year-old maestro's incredible development has seen him hailed as one of the globe's finest midfielders just three years after joining The Gunners as a trainee from Barcelona.

However the modest Fabregas insists he is still focused on continuing his development under Wenger and learning from the stars around him in North London.

"I appreciate these comments when they come for you but I still think I am just 19," Fabregas told Sky Sports News.

"I am still growing up as a player and a person in a great club and with great players next to me and I think this is very positive.

"I know I will have Thierry [Henry] next to me for the next four years, I will have Alex Hleb, Kolo Toure and [William] Gallas with me in the next four or five years, so for me all I have to do and think is to learn from them because they are great players.

"They have won a lot of things, and [I must] just keep working hard, doing my way and of course I know it is difficult that a midfielder is the best player in the world but I cannot think about that now because I am really young and have a long way to go.

"At the moment I prefer what I have to do in every game."

The Gunners were criticised as being lightweight last season as they limped home in fourth position thanks to their dismal away form, but Fabregas insists Wenger's men - currently five points shy of top spot with a game in hand - are much better equipped to challenge Chelsea this term.

"I think it is true that maybe we lacked a little bit of concentration and aggression away from home [last season]," Fabregas added.

"Because you go to places like Liverpool, Bolton, Everton and you know that they are going to play long ball, long throws and it makes your life difficult.

"But you are professional and you are Arsenal, you have to go there and give everything.

"We were ready, but sometimes physically they looked a bit stronger than us but this year it's completely different.

"We are playing very compact and central, we go really quickly in counter attacks, we all now hope to move the ball quickly around the box and we are more complete I would say."

After signing his lengthy deal Fabregas is aiming to repay Wenger's unswerving faith and the Spaniard has praised his coach for giving him the chance to shine at such a young age.

"He is a normal coach, he always wants the best for his team, he tries to think for the positive things.

"He is not a coach who will come and shout at you after the game, he has so much experience that he thinks before saying anything and he has been so helpful to me as a player and to show everyone what I have inside of me so I am really grateful to him for what he has done.

"With this eight year contract I am really happy to be working with him for such a long time."


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