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Football: Prosinecki is as big a genius as Moravcik; SAYS MARK BURCHILL.

Byline: SAM McLEOD

MARK Burchill watched new Portsmouth team-mate Robert Prosinecki show off his lavish skills - and almost mistook him for Lubomir Moravcik.

The former Celt insists that when the Croatian superstar takes to the field he is a dead ringer for his former Parkhead team-mate.

Like Moravcik, playmaker Prosinecki isn't scared to try a flamboyant trick or two if he can get away with it.

And, through his vision and skill, he acts as an inspiration to his team-mates, much as the veteran Slovak does for Celtic.

Burchill is a keen admirer of Moravcik and now he is relishing the chance to team up with another gifted maverick after he and Prosinecki completed early season moves to Pompey.

Burchill said: "The guy is class, there is no other word for it. He can do things with a football that just about no-one else can.

"I don't think he's actually match fit yet because he joined the club just a week or so before me.

"But he's still brilliant to watch, has a superb touch and is one of the best passers I've ever seen.

"I would compare him with Lubo Moravcik in that he can produce a bit of magic from nowhere, or try an outrageous trick which only he would think of pulling off.

"The Scotland players will know all about him I'm sure. He is Croatia's danger man.

"Some say that's he's past his best, but on his day he is untouchable.

"He seems a nice guy as well and I've spoken to him a bit and after the game on Monday even wished him luck for Saturday, although I hope he loses.

"I haven't had much time to train with him yet because I'm only just down here, but I can't wait to work beside such a talent.

"The fans down here are really excited that a player of Prosinecki's standing has signed for their club.

"He's already got a couple of goals and even from my game and a bit for Portsmouth, I've enjoyed watching him spray the passes around.

"It will be a great experience to play with him."

Burchill's Pompey team-mate and fellow Scot Kevin Harper echoes that view.

Harper has been drooling over Prosinecki's skill since he arrived at Fratton Park, but believed it spells nothing but bad news for Craig Brown's side.

He said: "I think his presence and skill makes him a very dangerous customer and Scotland have to be very wary of him."

Meanwhile, Burchill himself is doing a good job of becoming a hero on the south coast of England after his two goals in their 4-2 win over Grimsby on Monday.

He said: "This is a great challenge for me.

"We finished sixth bottom of the First Division last season and the aim is to do better than that this time.

"And we have already improved. It had been ten months since our last away win and we won at Stockport in my first game.

"We have a young team, I think there were five teenagers who started the game on Monday, and the standard is very good.

"And with a guy like Prosinecki about, then we feel confident of having a good season."

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 29, 2001
Words:545
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