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Football: UNHAPPY SOL BACK FOR THE GUNNERS; Star reports for training.

ARSENAL'S troubled defender, Sol Campbell, has returned to training after taking four days off.

Campbell was last seen publicly on Wednesday night, when he endured a torrid 45 minutes in Arsenal's defeat to West Ham.

The England centre-back was substituted at half-time and left High bury immediately.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger put Campbell's departure down to "exceptional circumstances" and admitted the player was down and going through a "difficult period" in his life.

But, after four days of lying low, Campbell returned to Arsenal's London Colney training ground today.

Campbell's Arsenal teammate, Robert Pires, admitted the central defender had a "big worry" in his private life.

Newspaper reports suggested Campbell was ready to walk away from the game - but his lawyer, Bon Battu, yesterday dismissed any talk of the 31- year-old hanging up his boots.

Battu also insisted his client has no personal problems and said: "He just felt that he needed to take time out and take stock of the situation. He's actually fine and in good spirits."

Campbell's return will ease the pressure on Arsenal's dwindling defensive stocks as they prepare for Saturday's clash with Bolton.

Wenger is down to the bare bones with a host of key men either injured or, as in the case of Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue, away on African Nations Cup duty.

The Gunners boss has been sympathetic to Campbell's needs, stating: "We want him to contribute to the final sprint of the season.

"There is nothing to forgive. You can only perform at this level if you are in a good state - and he wasn't."


CLOSE ENCOUNTER: Steven Gerrard and Sol Campbell during an England get-together
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 6, 2006
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