Campbell 'fresh' for Gunners start

BY foxsports • January 22, 2010

The 35-year-old former Gunners captain - who left Highbury for Portsmouth in the summer of 2006 - re-joined the Premier League title chasers on a short-term deal until the end of the season, after last week playing 45 minutes for the reserves against West Ham. Campbell, who had been training at the club's Hertfordshire base since leaving League Two Notts County, feels he is sharper than ever - and is itching to contribute to the first team again, with manager Arsene Wenger set to rotate his squad for the trip to the Britannia Stadium. "Personally I feel in better shape now physically than when I left Arsenal, because I am fresher," declared the former England centre-back. "I played so many years, but the longest break I have ever had was probably two months. "This time I have been able to train for six months, without the stress of building up for games and all the travelling. "All that takes it toll and I have not had that, so I am really fresh - I am loving it. "The batteries have been recharged and the stamina you need to go through a whole season - that is there." With William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen proving an impressive pairing at the heart of the Arsenal defence, Campbell, like fellow veteran Mikael Silvestre, has been brought in to provide some cover. Campbell, though, fully intends to play his part, both on and off the field. "I am there is there are any injuries, and tiredness or if the boss wants to make a change for a cup game or whatever. Basically I am there to help out in any capacity," he said. "But of course I want to influence things, whether it is from the bench or wherever. "I want to help the team and give everything I can when I am called upon. "The gaffer has said I am here to push the team on - to do what I do naturally, be a good character around the dressing room. "That is what it is all about - let's make sure the level does not drop." Campbell, capped 73 times by England, spent five successful seasons at Arsenal following a then highly-controversial move from arch-rivals Tottenham during 2001. He was part of the Invincibles team of 2003/2004, won three FA Cups and scored in the 2006 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona before heading to Fratton Park, where he would go on to lift the FA Cup again in 2008. It is understood offers were also on the table from Hull and Newcastle, but Arsenal was always Campbell's first choice. "Honestly, I did not think twice," the veteran defender said. "There were other options, but once I knew Arsenal were in for me, there was no question in my mind. "I was willing to wait for Arsenal to make the move, that was my priority. "I am so happy to be back here, to be part of this fantastic Arsenal team." Campbell - who is suing Pompey for some £1.7million he claims is owed for image rights and bonus payments - refused to rule out the possibility of extending his return past the summer. He said: "I just want to work hard for six months and whatever happens after that, who knows? Look where I was six months ago. "Every time I get on that pitch, I will be positive and give it my all."

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