Liverpool and Daniel Agger presented a united front as the Denmark international completed his £5.8m move from Brondby yesterday; both were at pains to stress how deceptive appearances can be.
The 21-year-old is much older than he looks and was barely audible as he whispered his way through a press conference at Liverpool's Melwood training complex. Rafael Benitez had to tell his new centre-half to speak up on behalf of the television cameras at one point lest, the Liverpool manager later explained, he gave the impression that confidence was lacking. "I change completely when I step into the field," insisted Agger. "I am a lot more aggressive. It is in my blood."
The evidence, particularly his marshalling of Wayne Rooney during England's 4-1 defeat in Copenhagen in August, would support Agger's theory, but he was not alone in attempting to change perceptions as Benitez insisted the player's arrival did not signal the end of Sami Hyypia's Anfield career.
Benitez spent 12 months searching for a centre-half to ease the pressure on his defence, particularly the 32-year-old Finland international. Agger fitted Liverpool's criteria of youth and affordability, and the Dane will be ready for the Premiership once he recovers from a knee ligament injury that has restricted his appearances for three months.
The FA Cup scare at Luton Town demonstrated the need for fresh legs in the Liverpool defence but Benitez insists Agger is not an immediate replacement for his fellow Scandinavian.
"We decided to sign Daniel because we needed a centre-back and because he is the type of player I like: hungry, with quality, keen to learn, with international experience and someone we can develop," Benitez said. "Maybe he can become the best centre-back in England for the next 10 years."Reuse content