Ryan Bertrand concerned by physical Senegal


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The Independent Online

Great Britain defender Ryan Bertrand admitted he feared for his safety at times during last night's 1-1 draw with Senegal.

Whilst coach Stuart Pearce opted not to criticise the Africans' robust approach, his players were less than impressed.

Skipper Ryan Giggs felt some of the challenges were "naughty", with GB particularly aggrieved at a wild Saliou Ciss tackle on Craig Bellamy that went completely unpunished.

Bertrand suffered as well, getting caught on the arm.

And the Chelsea man admitted it was not a pleasant experience at times.

"There were some horrific challenges," he said.

"I was fearing for my safety at some points.

"I have cuts on my shoulder, I am sure Craig is down and if Neil Taylor hadn't jumped out of the way of one in the first-half, he could have been really hurt.

"It was pretty physical to say the least."

As Senegal also grabbed a late equaliser to deny GB victory, Bertrand could have been forgiven for being sour at the entire evening.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, it just extended an incredible few months for the 23-year-old, who was catapulted into Chelsea's Champions League starting line-up by Roberto Di Matteo in May.

"It is crazy how football can turn round," he said.

"I was fully confident that somewhere, at some stage, I would get my break.

"Even when I was in and out of the squad my attitude in training never dropped and thankfully Di Matteo put his faith in me."

Having waited so long for his Blues breakthrough, to now be called for Olympic duty might have been viewed as a complication for Bertrand.

After all, whilst he is scrapping away on behalf of a made-up team, albeit one watched by a crowd in excess of 72,000 at Old Trafford last night, his Chelsea team-mates are on their pre-season tour of the United States, where Di Matteo is formulating plans for the new campaign.

Bertrand does not regret a thing though.

Indeed, with England boss Roy Hodgson due to be at Sunday's Wembley encounter with United Arab Emirates, the Southwark-born player has yet another potential manager to impress.

"It would have been crazy for anyone to turn down the chance of being involved in the Olympics with Great Britain," he said.

"This was a massive opportunity and Chelsea have shown a bit of consistency by keeping Di Matteo so it is not back to square one in that sense.

"My ambition for this season is to try and get a few games for Chelsea.

"But GB is another step in my international career and eventually, I hope to get an opportunity with England, so having Roy Hodgson at the game on Sunday cannot be a bad thing."