Sun, Oct 08, 2006 - Page 22 News List

Argentine soccer star set for the long haul at West Ham

AFP , LONDON

Javier Mascherano of English side West Ham United battles with Andrea Caracciolo of Italy's Palermo during their UEFA Cup first round, first leg tie at West Ham's Upton Park, London, on Thursday, Sept. 14.

PHOTO: EPA

Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano has vowed to ignore calls from his national coach Alfio Basile to quit West Ham.

Mascherano has endured a nightmare start to his West Ham career following his surprise move to the English Premiership club in August.

Alan Pardew's side have yet to win since Mascherano and his international team-mate Carlo Tevez arrived from Brazilian side Corinthians.

Mascherano was dropped for West Ham's last match, a home defeat against Reading, amid suggestions that he and striker Tevez, who has yet to score for the club, had unsettled the rest of their new teammates.

But he is happy to stay and fight for his place and told the London Evening Standard: "I came with the idea of staying a long time. I think when you arrive, and more so in a club like this, you need time to adapt, to get to know it all."

Basile is keen for the pair, both key players for Argentina, to leave London already because he claims they are playing with no enthusiasm and does not want their troubles to affect the national team.

West Ham have lost their last five matches, including a UEFA Cup first round exit against Palermo, and Mascherano has been linked with a move to Italian club Juventus in the January transfer window.

"Maybe the first year is just about getting to know it. My idea is to stay a long time," added Mascherano. "It's not right for a player to spend a year in one country, another year in another, another in another, that's too hard. Not just in terms of football, but the life you lead, for your family, everything. I want to be here for a long time."

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