Jermaine Pennant was rumoured long ago to be joining Liverpool, and at the same time was it was often claimed he used to be a “childhood Red”. Trouble is, that’s what we always seem to hear when a new player is linked with us. This summer it seems these things really are true. Craig Bellamy was a Red as a kid, and so was Jermaine, as he told the official Liverpool FC website after signing for the club this afternoon.
Asked how happy he was to be at Anfield he explained that the love of the most successful team in England was a family thing: “I’ve dreamt about this since I was a little boy so to actually be here and to be able to wear a Liverpool shirt and play at Anfield is a dream come true. My family have always supported Liverpool and I grew up watching videos of them on the television. My grandad and grandma came here in the seventies and I think Liverpool must have caught their eyes. The love of the club has spread through the family ever since.”
The first player Jermaine idolised was also a winger, John “Digger” Barnes, but later he was most in awe of a player he’ll now be teammates with: “I actually got my first Liverpool kit when I was about four years of age. John Barnes was my idol when I first started watching Liverpool but then as I got older I loved Robbie Fowler. I always wanted to come to Liverpool. This is the only club I would have wanted to sign for. There’s always a doubt in your mind as to whether or not it will happen because you don’t know if the clubs will agree a transfer fee but I just stayed positive and believed it would happen for me. It was only yesterday when I found out the deal was on and that it was going to happen. I don’t think it has sunk in yet and it probably won’t until I’m out in Switzerland with the lads training in a Liverpool jersey.”
Liverpool’s squad are in Switzerland for their now-traditional summer training camp and it will be a big boost to Rafa that he’s got most of his deals now done in time for the players to get to know their new teammates. Liverpool are still looking for one more striker to boost the squad, but those already in the training camp are no doubt looking forward to seeing Pennant create more chances for them, something he’s looking forward to doing: “I want to do what I’m good at which is getting past players down the line and getting plenty of quality crosses into the box. Crouchie is a great target man and of course I’ll be looking to make the service into the box as good as possible. I’m sure he’s looking forward to it as well. I just want to work hard and improve as much as I can to play an important role for the team.”
As for actually speaking to Rafa, well he’s not done much at all yet: “I’ve only had a quick conversation with him on the telephone but I’ll be meeting up with him in Switzerland later and I’m sure we’ll talk a lot more.”
The following statement is important for any new signing to say, but you feel Pennant really does mean it: “This is the best club in the country and the best club to be at”, he said. “So if I can’t do it here then I won’t be able to do it anywhere. I’ve still got a long career ahead of me because I’m still young, but hopefully I’ll enjoy all my good times here. I was away in Mauritius with my girlfriend when the Champions League final was on and I watched it along with a load of other Liverpool fans on the big screen in my hotel. When we went 3-0 down I just went back to my room feeling really disappointed. A bit later I put the match on again and saw it was 3-3. I couldn’t believe it and started jumping all over the bed.”
Read the full interview on the official site.