Veron: Best yet to come

LONDON: Chelsea’s new midfield signing Juan Sebastian Veron insists he will regain the form that helped his Lazio side win the Italian double in 2000. 

Veron, who has left Premier League champions Manchester United in a £15 million deal, believes he can return to the consistent level of form that often deserted him during his two mixed years at Old Trafford. 

“What I didn’t have was the continuity that perhaps I had at Lazio in the years I was there,” he said after being unveiled by Chelsea at a news conference on Thursday. 

“Clearly, the change of scene had something to do with it, but I am convinced that I can get back that continuity that I missed at Manchester United. 

“Having a coach like (Italian Claudio) Ranieri, who knows me, and who I’ve played against (as a coach) in Italy, will certainly be easier.” 

The Argentine international also feels he owes a debt to the former Fiorentina boss, who has spent nearly £60 million since Chelsea agreed a takeover by Russian oil tycoon Roman Abramovich. 

“I feel proud, first of all, because they could have gone for anyone and they chose me,” Veron said. “For me, it’s a question of pride and also of repaying all the faith that they have placed in me.” 

Veron was presented alongside fellow midfielder Joe Cole, whose England prospects have clearly been enhanced since leaving relegated West Ham United. 

“It was probably the hardest decision of my life to leave ... it was very emotional, because I’d been there since I was a baby really,” the 21-year-old said. 

“But on the other hand, there are great things going on at Chelsea ... I’m going to come here and learn my trade with some of the best players in the world. But I want to play – no player wants to sit on the bench.” 

Playing down what is expected of the gifted ball-player, Cole said: “I’ve been dealing with expectations since I was 17, maybe younger. People expect me to do amazing things every time I get the ball. I don’t think there’ll be much difference here.” 

Cole, whose skills are seen as helping to replace Gianfranco Zola after the Italian’s return to his native Sardinia, was wary of the comparison with Chelsea’s top scorer last season. 

“You can’t compare me to Franco because he’s a legend here and he’s done everything in the game,” said Cole. “I’m a young lad starting my career. I’m just going to give it my best shot.” – Reuters 

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