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FOOTBALL: I can be a Villa Park hero, says crocked stopper Laursen.


INJURY-HIT Martin Laursen is determined to be a Villa Park hero - as he reckons his game is tailor-made for the English game.

But Laursen admits he feels he is banging his head against a brick wall after his latest injury nightmare.

Villa's 28-year-old Denmark international is jetting off to Colorado on September 13 in a bid to sort out his knee problem and meet with renowned surgeon Dr Richard Steadman.

Laursen has made a stuttering start to life at Villa after picking up the injury only three games into last season at Charlton.

He endured a seven-month lay-off before bouncing back and scoring his first goal against Middlesbrough in March.

However, the nagging pain persisted and despite a summer of rest and rehabilitation, he has finally conceded defeat and could be facing another season on the sidelines if he requires an operation. But what is hurting the centre-half more than the pain in his knee is the knowledge that he has taken to the English game like a duck to water.

"It has been very frustrating to be out injured, but it is particularly annoying because I believe I can be a big success in England," said a fed-up Laursen"The way I play is suited to English football. That is why it is so frustrating to be in the treatment room, as I think I have a lot to offer. "It could be a Scandinavian thing whereby the cultures are quite similar, but my own game is tailor-made for England.

"I am good in the air, as well as being physically strong, and that is what people expect from defenders in England.

"It is different from my time in Italy with AC Milan where you have to be technically good because they want you to play out from the back more with the ball.

"I really only have to do what suits my game. That is why I am so frustrated."

But despite Laursen's injury heartache, he believes that he is making the right decision in seeking advice from Steadman in the States. Eirik Bakke and Patrik Berger have both been operated on by Steadman and Laursen revealed the Czech international backed his decision to the hilt.

"It isn't the same injury as Patrik but he told me that he thought I was doing exactly the right thing by going to see him," added Laursen.

"Lots of players have seen him and he has had success so I can take confidence from that. I think it is the right decision. The manager was disappointed when the injury flared up again but, if my knee is sore and I am in pain and unable to play, then he has to accept it.

"Something has to be done to sort it out and he has been very understanding, so it hasn't been a problem.

"I hoped I would benefit from a long summer break. I turned down the chance of playing for the national team so I could rest and work on a special programme for my knee.

"I still felt it wasn't quite right in pre-season but we tried to carry on. However, after the Bolton game I could feel that it wasn't very good. My only goals are to work hard, come back fit and prove that I am a good player.

"But I am not putting a timescale on when I return, as that all depends on what the surgeon says to me


HEADS I LOSE: Martin Laursen has been plagued by injury
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Sep 4, 2005
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