Robben not concerned by Ballack arrival

May 5, 2006

Arjen Robben does not feel threatened by the imminent arrival of Michael Ballack at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon hopes to finalise negotiations for Bayern Munich's Germany midfielder before the World Cup begins on June 9.

Ballack will be one of three new summer signings with Robben reportedly among the trio expected to be offloaded to accommodate their arrival.

But the Dutch winger is backing himself to remain a key member of the squad, whoever boss Jose Mourinho brings in when the transfer window reopens.

'I'm never concerned because I always know my own qualities. I have a lot of confidence in myself and I'm not afraid for my place,' he said.

'Of course you know at Chelsea that you can't play every game because it's a world-class squad and with extra world-class players coming in it's going to be even harder. But I'm very confident.'

Robben was an influential figure during Chelsea's Barclays Premiership title march last season but has failed to scale those heights this term.

The 22-year-old broke his foot in February 2005 and has been unable to recapture top form since, leading to speculation he might be leaving in the summer.

He admits to suffering from `second season' syndrome but stresses he is still a rookie who has much to learn.

'I'm more satisfied by last season than I was by this season. I want to do more,' he said.

'The second season is always harder. I wanted to do a little bit more this season but unfortunately I couldn't and that's why I'm looking forward to next year.

'All the second seasons I've had were more difficult, I don't know why. You just try to do the best you can, the same you always do. I always try to play my own game and do the best I can in training.

'Sometimes it doesn't work out. You have to accept that and keep working to get it going again. I learn in every training session and every game. You always try to learn.

'You learn and you become a better player. I think people forget sometimes that I'm only 22 still. I'm still quite young and I'm still learning and developing.

'I know I can develop myself much more and that's what I'm working for.'

Chelsea travel to Newcastle on Sunday with nothing left to play for after clinching the title with a 3-0 victory over Manchester United last weekend.

But Robben wants to bring down the curtain on another successful season in champagne style - to give United hero Alan Shearer a fitting farewell.

'It doesn't mean anything but the last game is always a good game. It's also a chance to say goodbye to Alan Shearer - it's a shame he isn't playing,' he said.

'We want to end the season well and we just want to make it a good game.

'St James' Park is a great stadium, great atmosphere, it's always full and I think it's going to be a very nice game.'