Samba: Reputations don't matter

30 July 2010 10:02
Chris Samba is not taking his place in the Blackburn team for granted this term because of the crop of exciting youngsters at Ewood Park.[LNB] Samba has established himself as first choice at centre-half since joining Rovers in 2007, forming a mean partnership at the heart of the defence alongside club captain Ryan Nelsen.[LNB]The 26-year-old rounded off 2009-10 by taking the skipper's armband from Nelsen and scored the winner in the final home game of the season against Arsenal - but he is expecting a battle for his place in the starting XI in the coming Premier League campaign.[LNB]Several youngsters at Blackburn caught the eye having been given a run in Sam Allardyce's first team last season such as Martin Olsson, Junior Hoilett and 18-year-old central defender Phil Jones, who earned rave reviews after making his Premier League debut in a 1-1 draw against Chelsea in March.[LNB]Allardyce has already tipped Jones for a future call-up to the senior England squad, and Samba believes there is now strong competition for starting spots throughout the Rovers team - which can only be a good thing for the club overall.[LNB]"We have some really promising players," Samba said.[LNB]"They showed last year they have got the potential and now they need to confirm that because the Premier League is a very hard place to play.[LNB]"They still have to improve, like we all do, and stay progressing.[LNB]"It does help us all though. Players coming through want to play and are hungry to play, but so are we.[LNB]"We did well last year and we want to achieve more this season. I hope the young players will have a good go and will be successful.[LNB]"If we can help them that will be good but they will also help us because we all know we have to be at the top of our game.[LNB]"Every time you play you have to prove yourselves. It is not a case of experience and inexperience. Experience does help but we all have to prove to the manager and prove to yourself that you can go again.[LNB]"If you want to win you have to play your best team, so reputations don't matter. The people who are playing well play, it is as simple as that."[LNB]As well as notching the Arsenal and Chelsea results, Blackburn also held Manchester United at Ewood Park and won at Aston Villa towards the end of last term - a strong finish to the campaign which saw them claim 10th place.[LNB]However, the late surge came after a slow start that had Allardyce's side worrying about the bottom end of the table for much of the season and Samba feels Rovers must hit the ground running in 2010-11.[LNB]He said: "We have to look to improve. We know what we are capable of. We have some regrets from last season. The biggest is that we were in between two stools.[LNB]"Every time we wanted to look up and see what position we could reach, but we had to be careful we didn't go on that spiral and get involved in a fight for survival.[LNB]"Every time it is easier when we start well because then we have a starting point and if we do that, then we can keep doing what we are doing right and could surprise ourselves at the end."

Source: Team_Talk