Eye Football

‘Move on, Andrei’

Russia coach Guus Hiddink believes his star striker Andrei Arshavin should play in a top European league after Euro 2008. Arshavin, 27, helped, Zenit St Petersburg to win the UEFA cup last season and has excelled against Sweden and the Netherlands after missing the first two games of the tournament through suspension.

All but one of the 23-man Russia squad play their club football in Russia, but Hiddink said on Monday: “I think some players can survive and make a big leagues in Europe.”

Arshavin, who was majestic in 3-1 extra time win over the Netherlands in Saturday’s quarter-final has attracted biggest plaudits.

Reports say Barcelona and Arsenal are in the running for the star. “Of course, the role models are good for Russian football also, but nowadays the world of football and information is so open.” Hiddink said.

“It is also good for him, maybe not for his club, to go and try to make a step to a big, big league, which is nice to see.”

Hiddink also said he selected him for the Euro 2008 squad, despite Arshavin being suspended for the first two group matches because he knew he could make a difference.

“An average player in the same circumstances, having a two-game suspension, I wouldn’t have selected him, but we knew he has some extra quality, and we hoped to be still in charge (of our destiny) in the Sweden game and that’s why I selected him.”

“He is not a selfish player. He can go into the defence with the ball at his feet. He is very accessible and very good to work with. All the big players are special, and I love to work with these special players because deep inside they like to play, but they like to win as well.”