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Football: HLEB: I'M LUCKY TO BE ALIVE.

Byline: By DUNCAN WRIGHT

ALEXANDER HLEB is ready to make his mark on the Premiership admitting he is lucky to be alive.

Arsenal's pounds 4million summer signing from Stuttgart admits he is still coming to terms with a car crash that left one person dead.

The 24-year-old's Audi collided with a BMW in his home city of Minsk last December, and a passenger in the other car died later in hospital.

Hleb said: "I feel lucky to be alive. I wouldn't want to wish on anybody what I have had to go through.

"It is certainly something that makes you take stock of your life and put things into perspective.

"I am very happy just to have the opportunity to recover and be able to play again. Every day I feel better, and being here helps me mentally to get over what happened.

"It was a very hard period of my life and I would rather forget about it and move on than dwell on what happened.

"I feel lucky in being able to come to Arsenal, and to another country, because it has enabled me to feel differently about things than I did when I was playing in Germany."

Hleb looks certain to make his Premiership debut against Arsenal today, but the Gunners will be without Jose Antonio Reyes who is suspended after being sent off in the FA Cup Final.

Newcastle new boys Emre, Scott Parker and Craig Moore will all figure.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 14, 2005
Words:248
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