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Friday, 16 February 2007


Jimmy Rice 16 February 2007
He might not have played a first-team game at club level, but those in the know are expecting big things from Argentine starlet Emiliano Insua.
The left-back's debut for the reserves on Tuesday had manager Gary Ablett waxing lyrical, and at the tender age of 17 he's already an established member of the Argentina under-20 side.

Liverpoolfc.tv decided to pop down to Melwood for his first major interview.

Insua, Emiliano

How are you settling in?

I'm doing my best to settle in. The cold is one thing that has struck me. I guess it's your winter over here, so I suppose it's not been so bad. I'm trying to get to grips with the language, English culture and the football. I'm living with a local family. I'll be with them for six months, to help me settle in. My brother has come over with me for company. He came to watch me play for the reserves on Tuesday.

How is your English?

I can speak a bit but I need a lot of practice. I started classes yesterday and will do them every day. I try to speak to the English lads, but obviously at the minute I'm relying a lot on the Spanish-speaking players. I've been speaking a lot with Ronald, Paletta and Mascherano.

Who has helped you settle in?

It's a joint effort. You've got the coaching staff like Rafa and Eduardo, but then there are players like Miki, Godwin, Francisco and Ronald.

Describe the moment you signed on the dotted line for Liverpool?

It was a fantastic moment and one I didn't expect at such a young age. I just want to make the most of the opportunity – I know how fortunate I am to be at one of the biggest clubs in the world. So yes, it was a great, great moment.

When did you first hear of Liverpool's interest?

I was playing in a tournament in Spain with Boca. During the tournament I got a call from my agent back home in Buenos Aires. He said someone from Liverpool had been watching and the club had made an offer. I was surprised.

Was it a difficult decision to make, leaving South America?

Although it's a tough decision, every Argentinian footballer sets out to play in Europe. You don't turn down a massive club like Liverpool. This is something Argentinian players work towards.

Is it right you have a European passport?

Yes, a Spanish one. That's down to my grandparents.

What has Rafa told you about your role here?

He's just told me that he's looking for me to play in the number three position, left-back. He's told me it's a hard, physical game here in England and that I'll need to adapt. I've not got a clue when I will progress to the first team, that's not up to me. It's down to me to do my best, then it's the manager's decision.

Have you had any contact with the first-team yet?

Yes, we trained together when the rest of the lads were away with international teams. I trained with Mascherano, Hyypia, Pennant, Fowler, players like that.

How did you cope?

Yes, fine. It was competitive but it wasn't a game situation, so there was no problem for me – I managed.

Insua, Emiliano

Did you know any of the lads personally before you arrived?

No. Paletta came from Banfield, so I didn't know him.

Not many Liverpool fans have seen you play – what kind of player are you?

I like to think I am a fairly tough tackler, I like to get stuck in. But I also like to play the ball, not waste a pass. It's good to use the ball when you have it. Most of all though I want to be strong – I think Liverpool fans like that kind of player. I can take free-kicks, though I'm not the kind of player who would want to take them all.

Tell us about your career so far?

I come from a place called Villa Urquiza, which is a district of Buenos Aires in the same way Anfield is a district of Liverpool. I started out with my local side. The team was called Pinocho, a bit like the puppet with the big nose. I went to Boca Juniors when I was very young – eight-years-old. I rose through the ranks, playing at every level until I got to the reserves. I didn't ever make the first-team.

Is it right you've represented Argentina at youth level?

Yes, I played in the South America Under-20 Championships. Brazil won, but then I played 90 minutes in the second-place play-off with Uruguay. I was one of the youngest in the squad, so that was fantastic. Anyway, we won 1-0 so now we are in the Olympics.

How do the training methods at Liverpool compare to what you're used to?

It's much more intense here and everything is with the ball, even the physical stuff. In Argentina it would be half with the ball and half without. We train almost every day here too, which is new to me.

You made your debut for the reserves on Tuesday – how was that?

I felt good. Now, I've just got to get used to the speed of the game over here. I need to learn and get more and more into things.

How confident are you of earning a permanent deal after your 18 month loan period?

I think if I carry on in the style I had at Boca, and I think I have been doing that, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. I hope so, anyway!

What did you know about Liverpool when you were growing up in South America?

I knew all about the club. I saw quite a lot of games from England, though it was only the top three or four clubs. One of them was obviously Liverpool. I knew they were one of the biggest clubs in the world, but the thing that most comes to mind is the famous comeback in 2005 against AC Milan. I watched the final – tremendous.

Who did you support when you were growing up?

Boca Juniors.

And who were your heroes?

Maradona – he was a massive idol for me. But in my position it was Heinze, Ayala and Sorin. When you look at Liverpool players, I admire Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger.

Finally, what do you hope to achieve in football?

The first thing is to get into the first-team here at Liverpool as quickly as possible. The next one is to consolidate my place for a long time. Then my ambitions are to win trophies, namely the Premiership and the Champions League.

Insua, Emiliano

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