Boksic upbeat about Boro

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The Independent Online

Alen Boksic, who has become accustomed to being associated with success during his career, is determined to end Middlesbrough's long search for a first trophy.

Alen Boksic, who has become accustomed to being associated with success during his career, is determined to end Middlesbrough's long search for a first trophy.

The 30-year-old Croat, who completed a £2.5m move to the Riverside Stadium last week, made his intentions clear when he met his new team-mates for the first time yesterday.

"To win at least a trophy because it would be important for the club and myself," the former Lazio striker said. "Whichever club I've gone to I've always won something and it would be good to win also with Middlesbrough.

"I don't know English football well and I don't know a lot of the players or how the Premiership works but I'm hoping that once those values are instilled the club could do well. The English Premiership is a front-line championship along with the Italian and the Spanish. It's so beautiful and fascinating because of the tradition of English football and over the last few years the championship has improved very much."

Boksic spoke to several former team-mates, including the Boro old boys Fabrizio Ravanelli and Paul Gascoigne, before deciding to make his move to England. He said: "I've heard about the team and the football club. I heard from players like Fabrizio, and other players, and what I've heard is that it is an ambitious club. As far as the town and the region are concerned, that's something I'll discover now myself.

"I hope to stay here for a long time until I achieve something and win something. That's my way of thinking. I'm not really concerned about what other players have done."

Boksic received his work permit earlier this week but will not fly out to Spain with his new team-mates later today for a five-day tour, after missing a week's training.

Bryan Robson, Boro's manager, said: "Alen's done 10 days' intensive training with Lazio but since all this has been ongoing he's had seven days where he hasn't done any training. What we're going to do is leave him back here with our fitness coaches to build up his training, then he'll join in with us when we arrive back on Monday."

Robson is excited at the prospect of seeing a striker he regards as one of the best in the world pulling on a Boro shirt. He said: "I think what Alen brings is strength and pace to the front line. I just think he'll excite our fans and the English style of play will suit him."

Robson played down talk of another move for the England midfielder Steve McManaman, who has been told he will struggle to earn a first-team place at Real Madrid. He said: "There's going to be speculation because I keep saying that I still want to bring in one more defender and another midfield player. I don't really want to talk about transfer things."

The German wing-back Christian Ziege has still to decide on his prospective move to Liverpool. Robson said: "He's away to make his mind up at the moment."

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