Football: Toshack keeps faith in Anelka

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The Independent Online
THE REAL MADRID coach John Toshack has come out in full support of his troubled striker Nicolas Anelka, saying the French international is ready and willing to prove his talent to a sceptical Spanish public.

The pounds 23m signing from Arsenal, who has struggled to adapt to his new team since his arrival just ahead of the current campaign, found himself at the centre of a storm this week when he said he was prepared to quit football if the pressures on him continued to build. However, Toshack, who pushed hard to secure the player during the summer, has continued to show faith in the player and is convinced he will triumph in the long term at the Bernabeu.

"Anelka knows he's one of the great players and he has tremendous desire to prove that," Toshack said. "You have to take into account that he's only human, he's 20 years old and we've signed him for seven years, not seven weeks.

"This is not something that worries me," the Welshman added. "What surprises me, though, is that some people doubt the talent that he has.

"He's a very young player, and he's spent the whole summer with his future in doubt, training with a couple of friends in a park in Paris. He still needs time to regain his fitness and to fit in with the rest of the team."

Bradford City will complete the signing of the French striker Bruno Rodriguez today, and may give him a Premiership debut against Tottenham on Sunday.

The Bradford City chairman, Geoffrey Richmond, confirmed the club are in the process of tying up loose ends with Rodriguez's club, Paris St- Germain.

Rodriguez claimed yesterday that the transfer would initially be in the form of a loan with an option to buy at the end of the year, but Bradford are believed to be looking to seal a long-term deal.

"It's one of the matters we are currently looking into," Richmond added yesterday. "All being well everything should be completed by tomorrow morning."

Regardless of the outcome, Bradford appear to have quickly cut through the red tape which held up Dean Saunders' move to Valley Parade from Benfica. The Welsh international only just received international clearance in time for him to make his goal-scoring debut at Middlesbrough on the opening day of the season.

Richmond is confident no such problems surround the deal over 27-year- old Rodriguez, who could immediately be in contention for a place in Paul Jewell's side for Sunday's game.

Rodriguez's move comes just over eight months after he signed a four- and-a-half year contract with Paris SG, following a two-year stay with Metz.