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Friday, 23 February 2007


Jimmy Rice 23 February 2007
Javier Mascherano, Rafa's latest signing, today spoke to liverpoolfc.tv about his desire to prove himself in English football, his debt of gratitude to the boss and how he doesn't regret moving to West Ham in the summer.

Mascherano, Javier

Javier, how are you settling in?

Good, good. I'm very happy here and things are going great so far. All the players have been helping me to settle in, which is nice to see. They've all been welcoming, which has made my transition to Liverpool really easy. The fact we had some time away last week was great. I think it was a good exercise for everyone. It certainly helped me to bond with my teammates.

How frustrating have the last few weeks been; first of all waiting for FIFA to give the okay, then the Premier League?

It has been extremely frustrating. I've been waiting for ages for my move to happen, so when I heard that everything was okay, it was a great relief. My family has been backing me up all the way, and along with the backroom staff here at the club, they have helped me through.

Has it been hard to keep yourself motivated to train?

I wouldn't say that. The fact that I'm here at such a great club like Liverpool has spurred me on. I have really felt part of everything. The players and the backroom staff have made me feel like I'm an integral part of the squad.

When did you first hear of Rafa's interest in you?

It was quite a while ago now – I'd say maybe two or three months ago. It was a massive surprise to tell you the truth, but a pleasant one. One minute I was not getting a game at a team who were struggling at the bottom of the Premiership, the next minute people were talking about me going to one of the top clubs in the country. There were rumours going round, but then I spoke with Rafa and he told me he might be able to get me up here playing for Liverpool.

How grateful are you to him for this opportunity?

Yes, I'm incredibly grateful to the boss. It really wasn't happening for me down at West Ham. Rafa has offered me an amazing opportunity, a great career move and one which I intend not to waste.

Did you ever think about turning your back on English football?

Maybe there were times when I was at West Ham not getting a game when I thought, yes, I might have to leave English football to play somewhere else. But once Rafa showed an interest those thoughts were gone. I knew I wanted to stay and make a go of things in this country.

Have you ever regretted coming to England?

No. The fact I was getting overlooked at West Ham was a bit of an unpleasant experience, but I really think this has helped me to develop as a person. It's in the most difficult periods of your life that you really start to learn things. Anyway, that's all in the past now.

Mascherano, Javier

Was your time in London the worst period of your life?

The thing is, I came over here with hopes of playing football on a regular basis and it didn't work out like that. It was a tough period, but I never allowed myself to go too far down. I tried to get stuck in at training and keep the belief that my football was okay. I got occasional games, so I was involved. I always lived in hope that things would work out.

Why do you think things didn't work out for you at West Ham?

First of all, I have to take some of the responsibility myself. I clearly didn't play sufficiently well to warrant a place in the team. The backroom staff obviously didn't think I was worth it. I didn't play a great deal, but I have to take my share of the blame.

There's a lot of good midfielders already at this club – what do you offer?

It's important to have lots of quality players – I'm part of the squad. I don't like to blow my own trumpet. If I had to describe my style of play I'd say that I like to be involved, I'm defensive minded and I'm a ball player. I just want to show what I'm capable of now.

Do you see yourself as offering something different to Xabi, Stevie and Momo?

They're all great players. It would be disrespectful of me to start saying I have qualities that they don't!

Are you confident you can adapt to the English game?

Yes. I'll try to do my best. I've already had a few months at West Ham, so I know the game is more physical over here. It's also a lot quicker, but my experience has also given me the belief that I can adapt and be a success in English football. I can handle it.

What has Rafa told you about your role at the club?

He hasn't spoken to me about when or how often I'll play. Rafa is the boss and I'll play when he says.

Have you been to any games at Anfield?

No, not yet. It's something I'm looking forward to, though.

Are you excited about playing in front of the Kop?

Yes, of course. Everybody has told me it's a fantastic experience.

Do you feel you have something to prove?

In a way. I've really got to repay the faith that has been shown in me.

Do you see this as a long-term move?

Yes, I want to be at this club for a long time.

Moving on, have you had much chance to explore Liverpool yet?

Not really I'm afraid.

There's a new Argentinian restaurant in town – are you, Paletta and Insua going to check it out at some stage?

[Laughs] Yes, we will – when we get some time!

Benitez and Mascherano at Melwood

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