Liverpool’s right wing-back Jan Kromkamp answered his international coach’s strange comments earlier in the week by insisting he’s happy with his new club. The Dutch coach Marco Van Basten claimed Kromkamp had made a big mistake in leaving Holland to play in Spain and then England. Van Basten was also unhappy at not getting enough time with his players for him to be able to name his World Cup squad, yet left Kromkamp out of his squad for tonight’s friendly with Ecuador.
Kromkamp obviously doesn’t want to burn any bridges and so was quite guarded in his response, saying: “I don’t want to say too much about it. I just can only say that I have got the feeling, that for myself, I have made a beautiful step. I’m very fit and I feel very happy here. If the national coach would appeal to me, then I’m ready for it. And if he finds that others are better, then he has to take someone else. Of course I would love to go to the World Cup, but I can only wait and do my best.”
Marco van Basten’s comments come despite the fact that he spent around half of his playing career outside Holland, playing for AC Milan in Italy. Perhaps van Basten has built up a dislike for Liverpool after they beat his old team in Istanbul last season, but whatever his reasons it makes him sound very arrogant and these comments would have been better said away from the press.
Another international Red not involved in friendly action tonight will
be Steve Finnan. The Republic of Ireland right-back yesterday pulled
out of ex-Red Steve Staunton’s first game as manager, the friendly
against Sweden tonight. The reason given is that Finnan is struggling
with a neck injury and he will now return to Melwood for treatment.
According to Staunton it was best for Ireland and Liverpool if Finnan
was allowed home to receive treatment: “Stevie Finnan will be going
back to Liverpool. He’s got a little neck injury. There’s no point
taking a chance. Liverpool were good enough to let him come over in the
first place, there are no problems.”
Liverpool will make a decision tomorrow on whether Finnan will be fit
enough for the league game on Saturday at home to Charlton.
Finnan has also had to contend with what seems to be part of a smear
campaign against Liverpool since the Reds overcame Manchester United in
the FA Cup at Anfield last month. Allegations that Finnan made racist
remarks in the league game between the clubs at Old Trafford back in
January were denied by Liverpool yesterday. The allegations had
supposedly been made to Greater Manchester Police by two individuals
who had used lip-reading skills to make out that racist remarks had
been made to Patrice Evra. Liverpool brought in some lip-reading
experts of their own to look at the same tape and could find nothing of
the sort. Finnan had already denied the allegations, which only came to
light some five weeks after they were alleged to have taken place.
Liverpool had not been informed of the allegations, nor had Finnan.
The allegations follow on from press attempts to make out a majority of
Liverpool fans taunted Alan Smith on his recent injury at Anfield, an
exaggeration to say the least. Also exaggerated was a story that Alan
Smith’s ambulance had been held-up by Liverpool fans, who had
supposedly rocked the ambulance and thrown stones, bricks, glasses and
bottles at it. The actual incident involved two or three idiots
throwing plastic glasses at the vehicle and nothing more. Reports of
disgusting missiles thrown from the upper tier of the Anfield Road
stand to the United fans in the lower tier were printed as fact by
newspapers including the Guardian, yet the only evidence of this was
from a Manchester United fanzine’s web-site which has a forum
encouraging supporters to sing and make gestures to Liverpool
supporters about Hillsborough.