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Gunner Cesc hits back at the detractors

SoccerNews in European Championships, La Liga 7 Jun 2008

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Spain's winless run at major tournaments since their only international triumph at Euro 64 could end this summer if Cesc Fabregas can shine for the Furia Roja as he has with Arsenal.

But the youngster on Saturday felt obliged to dismiss detractors who wonder why he has yet to show his Gunners form for his country.

The 21-year-old, who will look to lead the Spaniards to victory over Russia in their Group D opener in Innsbruck on Tuesday, has not found the net for his country since making his debut in March 2006, 26 games ago, whereas this season he was on target 13 times for Arsenal.

Cesc told the media he was a little fed up with the carping which he sees as equivalent to lining him up as a potential scapegoat if Spain once more fail to live up to their potential.

“It does rather,” he said when asked if the criticism annoyed him.

“It's not so much that it gets to me but the press always say the same old thing. I have to take things calmly. I am 21 years old and want to do well. I want things to turn out well. I have talked to the coach and have to keep calm,” said the midfield star.

“I hear the same thing all the time and it's not something I like that much. I try to give it my best shot and I am happy with what I am doing.”

Cesc has said privately he feels there are several players who are somewhat similar to himself in the Spanish team and that this means his overall individual effectiveness suffers as a result.

At Arsenal, he is more a singular cog in the machine and things revolve round him to a greater extent.

“In the Spanish team there are many players who can take control of a game. At Arsenal that is not so much the case and I am involved in all the attacking options whereas here we have Xavi, (Andres) Iniesta, (David) Silva… There are many variations. Here, it is complicated to shine. But I've been in the set-up for two-and-a-half years and I think I've bedded in well.”

Cesc says inside the squad itself there is no debate on his usefulness in Spanish red as compared with the Arsenal variant.

“Opinions to that extent come far more from outside rather than inside the squad. I feel fine. The Spanish team has a different style of football but good players have to adapt and I feel capable of playing anywhere,” he insisted.

In the international arena the starlet has sometimes lived in the shadow of the likes of Xavi.

“Xavi is used to the (Spanish) system with Barcelona. It's impossible not to be able to connect with him, it's great to play alongside him.

“The more quality there is in the team the better for everyone,” Cesc concluded, adding he did not accept the view of some observers that he and Xavi are incompatible.

“It's great to play alongside him and we get on great both on and off the field. There's no problem,” said Cesc, while accepting he would take it in his stride if coach Luis Aragones ever decided to keep him in reserve at some point.

“I am ready to do as the coach sees fit. I have come to help and whenever I get my chance I will grab it with both hands,” he stressed.

On his goalscoring record – and drought in the national colours – he noted that “with Arsenal I got my toe to a few and they went in. I don't play so regularly with the national side but I have provided quite a number of goal assists. I am not going to be negative when there are so many positives to think about.”

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