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Football: AGGER A STAR OF FUTURE; Reds target Daniel is 'one of biggest talents in Europe'.

Byline: By ALEX BROOKER

SHOULD Liverpool complete the signing of Danish international defender Daniel Agger, they will be acquiring 'one of the biggest talents in European football' - says Danish journalist Lars Mathiasen.

The Reds hope to capture the signing of the 21-year-old in the next 24 hours and Mathiasen says he is the perfect man to bolster their defence.

"Agger is a fantastic player, a real talent. He's a strong, athletic defender and has a big future ahead of him," said Mathiasen.

Agger, who at 6ft 3ins tall is similarly built to Sami Hyypia, has set the Danish league alight over the past two years.

The Copenhagen-born stopper made his debut for hometown club Brondby in July 2004, having been promoted from the youth team. He quickly established him self in the first team and at the end of 2004 was voted as the Danish league's 'Talent of the Year' (Danish equivalent of PFA Young Player of the Year).

His rise through the ranks led to several under-21 caps for Denmark and a full international debut in a friendly against Finland in June last year.

Following Brondby's 2004/2005 league title win, he starred in Denmark's friendly defeat of England in August.

After making Wayne Rooney look distinctly average, Agger came under the spotlight of Europe's top clubs and hasn't been out of it since.

Despite sustaining a knee ligament injury shortly after the England game, Agger earned himself a second 'Talent of the Year' award.

Agger's foot-balling progress has been rapid since his Brondby debut. But Mathiasen knows that he is far from the finished article.

He said: "Agger can be very rash. He got a lot of red cards in his early career. He used to dive in a lot and make mistakes, as all young defenders do.

"He's a very physical player and it was a worry in Denmark that unless he controlled his challenges he wouldn't develop further.

"But Tom KAhlert (Brondby's youth coach) was fantastic with him and really helped nurture him and erase most of that part of his game. He can still be rash, but it is a lot less often now."

Off the pitch, Mathiasen insists, Agger is a quiet boy with just one indulgence: "He loves his tattoos. It is well reported in Denmark that he regularly visits the tattoo parlour to look at new designs and get them done. I think he may have a sponsorship deal with one tattoo parlour to have their logo on his body somewhere!"

Mathiasen, who works for the Tipsb-ladet football magazine, says Agger has a somewhat eccentric streak, but high lights his confidence on the pitch as his most distinctive attribute.

"I've never seen anyone so young play with the confidence he does. It is as though he isn't phased by anything.

"He is completely fearless of whoever he comes up against. It is very refreshing to see in a young defender. But he has every reason to be confident.

"He's fast, good in the air and on the ball, is ambitious and has a drive to succeed. He could become one of the future stars of the English Premier League."

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YOUNG STAR: ' Daniel Agger, who is set to join Liverpool, has been hailed as one of the biggest talents in European football.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 7, 2006
Words:551
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