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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

QPR's (Chelsea's) Ben Sahar Profiled - March 2007 Profile/Interview!

Chelsea Official Site (From March 2007)

Such has been the pace with which Ben Sahar has risen as a young footballer this season, it will almost come as a surprise if he does not make his competitive international debut on Saturday.
In Tel Aviv this weekend, the 17-year-old Chelsea striker has the chance to line-up in direct competition with John Terry as Israel go head-to-head against England in a crucial Euro 2008 qualifier.
It is by no means certain Sahar will start. He has just one full international to his name, won in Israel's most recent friendly against Ukraine, and a mere two appearances for the Under 21s, both this season.
But his chances have increased with the news that striker Yaniv Katan has withdrawn from the game with a cracked rib. This is added to suspension for leading campaign scorer Roberto Colautti. Katan played in three of the four qualifiers so far. Colautti has been ever-present.

If Sahar is picked, it will cap, quite literally, a season in which he has arrived at Chelsea, progressed from youth to reserve to a first team debut in January, as well becoming both Israel and Chelsea's youngest ever international.
'Sometimes I think maybe it is a little too fast,' he admitted before departing England to join up with the Israel squad.
'But the chance has come up and it is good for me. If you play for the first team of Chelsea, of course you like it but you have to keep in your mind that you are still young and there is a lot to improve.'
His Chelsea first team career so far consists of three second-half substitute appearances, one in each of the three domestic competitions, all coming in January.

His has not been a totally sublime season. He has scored in just one of his five appearances in the reserves since the last of those first team run-outs, although he did net a hat-trick that night.

In total he has five reserve goals in 11+1 appearances and four goals in 5+4 youth team games.
'I am still young and I know every day in training I need to work hard. I am happy that the staff has given me the opportunity to play.
'I don't feel pressure here in Chelsea but in Israel, everyone knows me now and everyone expects that I will play good and there is a little bit of pressure from the media in Israel. But I have to control this and stay focussed on the pitch.'
The hopes his county have for Sahar mirror rising expectations over Israeli football in general. An unbeaten, if ultimately unsuccessful qualification campaign for the last World Cup, was a sign of improving standards. Only goal difference denied a place in Germany. Now the people are calling for participation in a major tournament.
Israel currently lie level with England in Euro 2008 qualification group E, three points behind leaders Croatia.
'This is a big game for us because we know if we win, it will help a lot to go to the next round,' Sahar says about Saturday's challenge.
'If you don't think you have a chance, why are you playing? We think we have a chance, particularly at home with all our fans.
'The stadium in Tel Aviv is not a typical English stadium, the fans are a little bit far from the pitch, but it holds 45,000 and the atmosphere I think will be great because a lot of fans from Israel will come and I hear 5,000 from England. The pitch is fantastic.
'Maybe you [England] have a little bit of problems with the national team and maybe this is bad for us because you come, you want to fight, you come with 100 per cent motivation. So this can be good or bad.
'We are not an easy team because we played against France and other big teams and we didn't lose.'

Needless to say, the approaching match has been a topic of conversation at the Chelsea training ground.
'Players like John Terry and Frank Lampard are very friendly but very professional. They speak about the game, and how it is going to be and how the standard is going to be.
'The players in the reserves are saying we are going to beat you, and it is just a joke. I said okay, let's wait for the game.
'I have played already for Israel against Sheva and it was brilliant for me. When he came to Israel, he said about me good things in the media.
In training I have learned a lot from these players and of course you be friendly in training. John Terry is a really good guy and helps me. But if I do play against England I will give my best against John Terry.
'You want to beat them of course. It will be perfect if England after this game win all their games.'
Sahar was first spotted for Chelsea by our academy chief scout Lee Congerton at an Israel youth international in Ireland and was invited over for a trial before being offered the chance to sign.
He has an athletic pedigree. While his father's football was played at a purely amateur local level, his mother was a national sprint and long jump champion at the age of 18. Both take turns to come over and stay with him in England.
'All the time I thought Chelsea was the best club for me. I think I am suited to English football, that is why I came here. I think I am quick and strong.'
José Mourinho, asked last week about the young striker's progress, declared:
"I am very excited. When Shevchenko was injured before the Man City game, Ben Sahar was the next one if Sheva hadn't travelled. He would have been on the bench.
'He is still working in the reserve team. Sometimes he comes to us but next year will be different. Next year he will be part of the first team squad. Of course he will play matches with the reserves but he will be working every day with us.
'If he can play against England at this high level, against big players like Terry, Ferdinand, Carragher, all these great central defenders, it is magnificent for his experience.'
Lampard, another who will be in opposition on Saturday should Sahar get the nod, has also shared his thoughts.
His progress has been very good and he has got first team potential. He has come on and had a little taster and trained with us without looking out of place.
'Ben is still young and has a long, long way to go - but in terms of potential he can definitely get into our first team if he develops as he has been doing.'

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