Utaka praises Avram's role
By Site Reporter
Wednesday 28 Apr 2010 22:58:00
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John Utaka has praised Pompey boss Avram Grant for giving him his confidence back, as he bids to claim a World Cup place after a season plagued by injuries and off-field upheaval.

The Nigeria international as been recalled to the international fold as he will join up with Lars Lagerback's pre-squad for the tournament in England next week."His coming was a big boost for me. He told me to go out and enjoy myself. He gave me more confidence," said Utaka.

"He's a good manager because he has worked at some top clubs previously and he knows a good player when he sees one."


Utaka is happy to be back in contention having missed the Cup of Africa Nations in January. His last appearance was against Tunisia in a World Cup qualifier in June 2009.

"I'm happy to be back with the squad and like always, I will give my best for Nigeria. I'm also looking forward to the World Cup, where I believe we will do well.

"I have the confidence and determination and so I'm optimistic I will be in South Africa."

And Utaka reiterated his best position was playing up front.

"I'm a centre-forward, a top 9. I only have to get a good run in that position and with the right support and delivery, I will be scoring consistently for both club and country.

"I have never doubted what I can do on the pitch. This is a gift, a talent."

And Utaka laid the blame for some of his problems this season at the lack of stability at Fratton Park.

"We changed owners and managers at will, and everybody came with his own ideas and his own players. There was no stability at the club.

"Also, some people will not care to know that I suffered injuries - hamstring, groin. It's also a fact that even if you are not playing, it does not mean, you're not a good player. It does not take away your quality," he added.

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