Campell turns out for Arsenal reserves

March 20, 2006

England defender Sol Campbell has appeared in a competitive game for the first time since walking out of Highbury half way through a Premiership match in February.

The 32-year-old played all 90 minutes of Arsenal reserves' 2-0 victory over Charlton at Barnet.

With a place in the England World Cup squad up for grabs if he can prove his fitness and Arsenal still in the Champions League, a troubled season for the ex-Spurs man might yet end in glory.

Having gone missing for a few days after being substituted at half-time in a 3-2 defeat by West Ham on February 1, an ankle injury then kept the centre-back on the sidelines.

Last week he played all 90 minutes of a friendly with a Brighton side but that was behind closed doors at the Gunners' training ground so tonight was the first time his comeback efforts had been witnessed by a crowd.

And Underhill, used by the Gunners for second string fixtures and famous for its sloping pitch, did indeed play host to a sizeable following, although many had come to see Theo Walcott, the teenage sensation recruited from Southampton in January who used his pace to net a 52nd-minute opener.

Campbell captained a side that also contained Robin van Persie, with the Dutchman also having combined a lack of fitness with off-field worries this season.

This time Campbell did reappear after the break and completed a comfortable 90 minutes against a youthful Charlton side without any visible discomfort.

Nicklas Bendtner scored the second goal.