Gonzalez optimistic over Liverpool work permit

May 3, 2006

Chilean winger Mark Gonzalez believes his application for a Spanish passport is 'going well' and he aims to be a Liverpool player by the end of the summer.

The 21-year-old has twice tried to obtain a work permit from the Home Office and is currently loaned out to Real Sociedad, where his skills and goals have been the key to what is expected to be a successful fight against relegation from La Liga.

Gonzalez is effectively a Liverpool player, subject to a work permit or passport, with contract details already having been sorted out, but he has suffered a frustrating 18 months of injury and then being refused permission to start his Anfield career.

But Liverpool, who will make another application for a work permit this summer, will get their man regardless if he acquires a Spanish passport first.

Gonzalez, in a LFC magazine interview, said: 'I have heard that the passport application is progressing quite well, so let's hope that I can get the EC Spanish passport which I think then might be enough to play in the UK without needing a work permit.

'That makes it more simple. Having a relevant passport is vital for a footballer wherever you are in the world.'

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has kept in constant touch with Gonzalez this season and given the youngster plenty of encouragement, but has been openly angry that the original work permit requests were turned down.

Gonzalez added: 'There are certain requirements they demand. Firstly, the country you play for must be in the FIFA top 70. Chile were lower than that at the time we applied.

'Then you must have played 75% of your country's games, which I have done. So the top 70 issue was the problem.'

Chile are now in the high 60s, and Gonzalez says: 'How can it be my fault that my country are not in the top 70, it is not like I play them by myself.

'We are looking at two ways of getting Spanish nationality, and with that an EC Spanish passport.

'Firstly through residency, and the time I spent with Albacete and now Sociedad. You need to have been here (in Spain) two years.

'Secondly through Spanish descendants on my father's side of the family. Now we have an application for a Spanish passport being progressed.'

He added: 'Once I get that I don't think there will be any problem. It has all made me more determined to be success in England with Liverpool.'