Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Manchester United v Arsenal: Campbell hopes to silence Rooney

Sol Campbell has declared himself ready to face Manchester United - and a rampant Wayne Rooney - on Sunday in what would be the 35-year-old defender's first League start for Arsenal since 2006.

The leg injury sustained by Thomas Vermaelen at Aston Villa on Wednesday led to Campbell playing two-thirds of the 0-0 draw as a substitute.

However, the worst fears over Vermaelen have been allayed after it was revealed he has not broken his leg.

“There is no fracture in Thomas' leg but his injury still has to be assessed,” Arsene Wenger said. “There is still a good chance he will not play on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Campbell, asked whether he felt prepared for a game of the magnitude of United's visit to the Emirates, said: “I've been training for a long time so if it comes to it, I'll have to be. It's as simple as that.” Campbell has started only one League fixture since leaving Portsmouth last May — for Notts County at Morecambe in September — and while admitting it had been “a strange old season” he claimed he was “knuckling down now”.

Marking Rooney, once an England colleague, would be a challenge because “he's always dangerous”.

“I wasn't really pleased to get on against Villa because we had an injury to one of our centre-halves, and it's not nice to come on like that,” he added. “But that's when the squad comes into its own. People can come in and the level doesn't drop.”

Did he think his chance of playing in fixtures like Sunday's had gone? “To me it's the past,” Campbell said, indicating that he did not wish to dwell on his departure from the Premier League and the brief, bizarre re-emergence in League Two. Looking forward, he said: “We're just past midway through the season. It's the business end really.”

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