Adams returns to lead Arsenal

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The Independent Online
Tony Adams makes a timely return to lead Arsenal today after 12 days of turbulence which have been remarkable even in the light of the troubled times he and his club have been through in the past.

Until he appeared as a substitute against Middlesbrough on Saturday, Adams had not played a Premiership match since January. He said yesterday: "I just feel it is high time I got back to doing my job. I've got things in perspective now. The knee I injured is fine again and I feel really good.

"Playing for Arsenal is a big part of the life of Tony Adams and it really is nice to be back. When I get out there and do my job it makes all the other problems that much easier for me. And I feel so pleased to be playing again because I earn a lot of good money being employed by Arsenal and recognise that I've still got a bit more to offer them.

"I've picked up quite a bit of success already, but I don't want to see out my career just going through the motions."

There is no chance of Arsenal being able to do that in Cologne this afternoon when they start the second leg of their first round Uefa Cup tie against Borussia Monchengladbach 3-2 down. Dennis Bergkamp and Lee Dixon are both out with hamstring injuries, but the major plus for Arsenal is Adams' return. Pat Rice, who will be in charge of the team for the match said: "If Tony plays, there is no doubt he will return as captain."

With Dixon out, Rice will make a late decision on whether to switch Martin Keown to the right of a five-man defence which will be certain to include Adams - or to leave out Andy Linighan and go for more midfield strength by recalling either Ray Parlour or Glenn Helder.

Arsene Wenger, Arsenal's new manager, is adamant that they can overcome the deficit. "A lot of damage was done in the first match, but I have seen two videos of Borussia and with the strength and quality of Arsenal it is certainly not finished yet," he said.

"It is a very big task but Borussia have had some strange results since the first leg - losing 4-0 against Cologne and beating Dortmund 5-1.

"They have the lead and Arsenal must score at least two away goals, but I think it will be very difficult for their coach to decide whether to go for another goal early or try to stay back and hold the advantage."

Wenger has discounted speculation that he has designs on recruiting a series of leading foreign players, not least George Weah, the Milan striker. Wenger said: "Everybody here will get a fair chance to show me what he can do."

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