Moody Blue Anelka tired of playing wing role

May 23, 2008

PARIS, May 23 (Reuters) - Chelsea's Nicolas Anelka is unhappy at being used as a winger by coach Avram Grant and wants to play centre forward next season.

Anelka, who missed a penalty in the Champions League final shootout against Manchester United, was quoted by French sports daily L'Equipe on Friday as saying he was not interested in playing as a wide man.

'When I came (to Chelsea), I was told I would play in a 4-4-2 system,' Anelka said. 'I didn't come here to play on the right or on the left. In England, I need to prove my worth as a centre forward.'

Anelka said he would make his case to the manager next season.

'Up to now I didn't say anything because I was a new player coming from Bolton. But from next season I will no longer be a new player - I will be a Chelsea player,' he added.

Anelka also said it had been difficult to come on as a late substitute in Wednesday's Champions League final and be asked to take part in the shootout.

'I stayed 110 minutes on the bench and suddenly I was asked to play less than a minute after being sent to warm up,' he said.

'I don't know if it ever happened in a Champions League final, in a game so intense, that a player was sent on without having warmed up.'

Anelka said he declined the offer to take one of Chelsea's first five penalities.

'I said: 'No way. I came on practically as a full back and you want me to shoot a penalty?'.

Anelka ended up taking Chelsea's second 'sudden death' kick, which was saved by Edwin Van der Sar.

'Good for him. That's the game,' added the Frenchman.