Vialli vexed by life on the Chelsea bench

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The Independent Online
Gianluca Vialli has joined his fellow Italian Fabrizio Ravanelli in expressing frustration at life in the Premiership.

The former Juventus captain has struggled to win back his place in Chelsea's starting line-up after injury and illness, and declared on Italian television: "It is not a particularly happy period for me. Ruud Gullit has used me very little and I am not satisfied about this."

Vialli added: "I think if the manager keeps the captain of the side that won the European Cup six months ago on the bench, it would mean his team are top of the league. But this is not the case at Chelsea. So it must mean either the manager is not doing an exceptional job or there is something wrong. I feel there is something wrong.

"I wait with patience. I continue to train and I just grit my teeth. I did not come here on holiday or to enjoy myself. I came here to play and become a legend in London with Chelsea. Staying on the bench is frustrating for me and I hope things change in the future.

"Certainly I am not happy and not prepared to bear this situation for much longer."

Vialli was first sidelined with a hamstring injury and then flu. In his absence the striking partnership of Mark Hughes and Gianfranco Zola has blossomed. Chelsea play Derby tomorrow, hoping to improve on seventh place in the table.

The Chelsea coach, Gwyn Williams, said: "When Gianluca is on form, he will return to the side." Earlier this week Vialli's former Juventus team- mate, Ravanelli, was reported to have expressed fears that his new club, Middlesbrough, would struggle to survive in the Premiership, though he later played down his comments.

Gianni Agnelli, the owner of Juventus, has ruled out a move for Alan Shearer. The Newcastle striker has been linked with the Italian club because they feel they need to strengthen their attack, despite Wednesday night's 6-1 drubbing of Paris St-Germain in the first leg of the European Super Cup. "He's out of reach because of his cost," Agnelli said. "We need some reinforcements, but not that expensive." Shearer became the world's costliest player last summer when Newcastle bought him from Blackburn for pounds 15m.

Matt Elliott's journey from a building site to the Premiership was completed yesterday when he joined Leicester City in a club record pounds 1.6m deal. The 28-year-old Oxford United centre-half rejected moves to Southampton and Sheffield Wednesday to sign a three-and-a-half year deal. Leicester's previous record was pounds 1.25m for Mark Draper.

"It's not so long ago that I was leaving school with no career ahead of me and doing bits and pieces on a building site," said Elliott, who will make his debut at home to Wimbledon tomorrow. "Now I'm like a schoolboy, I feel so excited."

Coventry City have offered pounds 1m for the 20-year-old Tranmere Rovers striker Ian Moore and expect to sign him today, while the Second Division strugglers Notts County have named Sam Allardyce, formerly in charge of Blackpool, as their new manager.

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