Kolo Toure keen to kickstart career at Liverpool
Ivory Coast international played just 29 league matches in the last two campaigns at Manchester City
Brazil’s Paulinho celebrates scoring against Uruguay during the semi-final of the Confederations Cup. The midfielder will join Tottenham Hotspur in a €2O million deal. Photograph: AP Photo
New Liverpool defender Kolo Toure is looking forward to becoming a full-time footballer again after two years of limited action. The Ivory Coast international played just 29 league matches in the last two campaigns at Manchester City and views his move to Anfield as the chance to make up for lost time.
“Liverpool have given me the chance to show that at 32 I’m still one of the best defenders, and I will fight for that,” said the centre-back, who yesterday officially signed for the Reds after his contract expired with the former Premier League champions. “These past two years of being ‘part-time’ have helped me refresh and be more hungry.”
Toure leaves brother Yaya behind at the Etihad Stadium but he knew it was not an option for him to remain at the club. “I haven’t spoken to him yet really because he’s been on holiday but he’s going to be on his own there now,” he added. “I wish him the best but I knew I had to leave City. I’ve come next door and that’s a great move for me.”
Toure is seen by manager Brendan Rodgers as a short-term replacement for the retired Jamie Carragher. He certainly has a wealth of Premier League experience, having played for Arsenal before his switch to City, but with Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel still at the club he knows he will have to fight for his place. “I am used to competition. When I came into Arsenal the competition was Sol Campbell, Martin Keown, Tony Adams — it was hard competition,” he told liverpoolfc.com. “The only way to improve a team is to make players fight for their place.”
Toure joined his new team-mates and fellow new arrivals Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas and Simon Mignolet for the first day of pre-season at the club’s Melwood training ground before formally signing his contract. “It’s like coming to a new school,” he said. “But as soon as I came, Steven Gerrard came up to me and told me that if I needed anything, I could come to see him — that shows the spirit and mentality of this club.”
The only absentees were those players who have had international duty this summer. Uruguay striker Luis Suarez, club and national team-mate Sebastian Coates, and Spain goalkeeper Jose Reina have all been at the Confederations Cup in Brazil and so have been given an extended break. Suarez’s future remains in doubt, however, after a series of interviews while back in South American in which the 26-year-old criticised his dislike of the British press and admitted a move to Real Madrid would appeal.
Midfielder Jonjo Shelvey also rejoined his team-mates despite speculation about his future increasing. The 21-year-old has been linked with Norwich, Crystal Palace, West Ham and Swansea. Swans chairman Huw Jenkins claims he has already opened discussions with the Liverpool about the midfielder.
Influential Brazil midfielder Paulinho has confirmed he will join Tottenham Hotspur from Corinthians in a €20 million deal. The 24-year-old, who was voted the third-best player at the Confederations Cup, will link up with his new team-mates at White Hart Lane after a short holiday. “The other interest we got was from Inter but the only offer came from Tottenham,” he said.