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Benjani targets debut against City
Published : 02 Sep 2010 12:29:00
ew Blackburn forward Benjani is hoping to make his debut against Manchester City - but is just relieved to be in a Premier League squad. Top-flight clubs each submitted lists of a maximum of 25 players for the first half of the 2010-11 campaign to the Premier League yesterday, with Tottenham's injured former England defender Jonathan Woodgate one of the more high-profile omissions. Benjani has been included in the Rovers squad after signing an initial one-year deal at Ewood Park last week and, having struggled for fitness himself in recent times, the Zimbabwe striker is relieved to have made the cut. "I have been troubled by injuries and now I am 32," Benjani said. "If by this time next season I still have a club in the Premier League, I will be very, very happy. "At other clubs there are good players who they didn't register, but today I'm here at Blackburn, I'm registered and I'm very happy. "It is so sad that other players don't have that opportunity to play this season." Benjani was released by Manchester City earlier this summer, bringing to an end a largely unsuccessful and injury-marred two-and-a-half-year stint at Eastlands. He also failed to find the net in eight games while on loan at Sunderland last season, but prior to joining City, Benjani had enjoyed a fairly prolific spell with Portsmouth and the forward knows it is vital that he is not rushed back into action if he is to ever rediscover that form. "It will depend on my fitness and I am still working on it right now," Benjani said. "Hopefully if I am fit I will try and fight for my place. The lads are performing, so it is not easy to come here and just walk into the team. I need to work hard. "I'm still fighting - my fitness is not up to the level of the Premier League at the moment and I am working very hard with the fitness trainers. "I need to be playing and will be playing some friendly matches. Hopefully if I get three or four of those, maybe I might be fit in the next month." A raft of expensive new players arrived at City after Benjani was signed in 2008 by then-manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and having been deemed surplus to requirements by the club's current boss Roberto Mancini, the striker has taken the opportunity to fire a parting shot at his former employers. Speaking about what it was like to be at City when they were spending so much money, Benjani said: "It sounds great, but in football money is not everything. "What is needed is people who can hang around and love you to be there. "Sometimes you are loved to be there because of money, which is not good. I would prefer to be here without having all those facilities, be happy and trust everyone around you." Asked if he thought some players at City were interested in money more than anything else, Benjani said: "Yes, it seemed like that and behind the scenes, there is no trust. "I would prefer to play for a club where you are being trusted and you trust everyone around you." Former Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp brought Benjani to English football in 2006 and it is where the player hopes to see out the rest of his career. "I played in Switzerland and France and I have loved to come and play here in England," he said. "It is the best league in the world and I would love to end my career here."