Determined Djourou keen on starting role

November 1, 2006

Johan Djourou is determined to keep his place in the Arsenal side despite his compatriot Philippe Senderos stepping up a return from injury.

GettyImages / BongartsJohan Djourou: Knee problem

Senderos is returning from a dislocated shoulder and is expected to be on the bench for tonight's Champions League game against CSKA Moscow, although he will be looking to partner Kolo Toure in the heart of Arsenal's defence when fully recovered.

Djourou, who is Swiss like Senderos, has proved an able deputy and is looking to extend his run in the first team beyond tonight's clash at the Emirates Stadium.

The 19-year-old centre-back, who signed a six-year deal with the club in the summer, said: 'If the boss wants to change the team that's his decision.

'It's up to me to show in training I deserve to play.

'William Gallas and Kolo are there as well and as a young player I have to show I'm ready to play, so Philippe coming back is putting extra pressure on me and it's a good thing.

'It's very good to play at the top level because it's a good competition, but with Gallas and Toure around you can learn from them. They're fantastic team-mates.'

Arsenal felt a sense of injustice when they lost to CSKA in Russia two weeks ago, with Thierry Henry having a late strike in the Group G game harshly ruled out for handball.

'I can understand his frustration over what happened in Moscow,' said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

'Frankly, it is difficult enough to score goals and on top of that it is cancelled and on top of that you get a yellow card. It is not easy to take.'

Djourou also felt the free-kick he gave away for Daniel Carvalho's winner was an incorrect decision.

'I was upset because I thought the referee let the play go on and then came back,' he added. 'I wasn't sure it was a foul.'

Arsenal are looking to bounce back from the weekend draw against Everton, where Henry was again frustrated as the visitors to the Emirates Stadium looked to stifle the hosts.

Wenger added: 'Thierry wants always to do well. You do not make the career he has made if you do not have that burning desire to win and to score goals.

'Of course he was frustrated on Saturday because he we did not win and he could not make the difference because he is used to doing it.

'But that happens as well. You have to take that on board and it is not the first time and it will not be the last time.'