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Football: Rosicky: I want to dump the Dumpling; COUNTDOWN TO THE PREMIERSHIP KICK-OFF: Gunners chief promises great future.

Byline: By DARREN LEWIS

NEW signing Tomas Rosicky has begged Arsenal fans to ditch his hated nickname - Dumpling.

The Czech Republic midfielder revealed how supporters jokingly gave him the tag when he arrived at former club Borussia Dortmund in 2001.

The 25-year-old said: "The Dumpling thing came about as I'm quite small. People were always teasing me to eat more to gain some more weight.

"But I didn't like it and so they stopped calling me it after I gained some respect."

One nickname the pounds 6million Arsenal recruit admits he would not mind from his time in Germany is Little Mozart.

He explained: "Little Mozart came from the technical way I played. Also from the fact I used to come up with good passes and create good situations for my team-mates. I like attacking minded fast play with a short passing game."

Rosicky, who was twice on target against the US at the World Cup, insisted he was not worried by the pace and aggression of the Premier League.

He added: "I had to face lots of pressure in Germany and I wasn't worried then.

"If I was worried about physical tackles I would not have moved at all.

"I'd say the most unusual thing for me will be that in contrast to Borussia, where I had an almost guaranteed spot in the line-up, I'll have to fight for a place in the team at Arsenal.

"The number of young players can only be a good thing because we will have an opportunity to stay together for a while and to grow stronger as a team."

One of those youngsters - Cesc Fabregas, 19 - was yesterday given further evidence of Arsenal's determination to keep him and fight off interest from Real Madrid.

The Spain midfielder, who wore 15 last season, has been handed Patrick Vieira's former No.4 jersey for the new campaign.

And Philippe Senderos switches from 20 to six, a shirt number once worn by Gunners legend Tony Adams.

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JOKE'S ON YOU: Rosicky
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 14, 2006
Words:337
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