LITESPORT NICKLAS BENDTNERS father claims some of the biggest clubs in the world wanted to sign his son before he committed his long-term future to Arsenal. The 21-year-old striker, along with young Brazilian midfielder Denilson, agreed a new deal at the Emirates Stadium yesterday. But his father Thomas, also his agent, claims there was plenty of interest in his son over the summer -- with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan reportedly keen on the Dane. He said: Many clubs wanted to sign Nicklas, and some of them are among the biggest clubs in the world. It would have been very easy to find a new, great club for Nicklas and when the biggest clubs join in then it is really flattering. But he was never in doubt that what he wanted most was to stay at Arsenal. He is so happy with his new contract, and the most important thing is that in Arsene Wenger he has a manager who shows him a lot of confidence. Bendtner chalked up some 50 appearances in all competitions last season, scoring 15 goals and the 6ft 3in frontman is determined to continue his progression. It means a lot that I can commit my future to Arsenal because I have a great affection for this club, said the Copenhagen-born star. Ive been here for five years now, and my development both on and off the pitch as a player and person is thanks to Arsene Wenger and the team here. Weve got a group of players that is certainly capable of achieving great success, and I am really excited that I am going to be a part of what is to come. London Lite Thursday, 3 September 2009 43 BLUES SIGNINGSBREAkING NEwS... Denlyinjury scarecould seefootball offthemenu ENGLAND captain Andrew Strauss and the team management will look at whether they should continue to play football as part of their warm-up after batsman Joe Denly suffered an injury in a practice game today. The 23-year-old (above) had to be carried off the Oval pitch after a tackle from Owais Shah which left him on crutches with an injured knee. He is now expected to miss the first one-day international against Australia tomorrow. Strauss told Sky Sports: The reason we play football is that its something the guys enjoy and it gets the blood flowing. We feel, or certainly had felt, if its played sensibly the chance of getting injured is very slight. Unfortunately it has happened today and if people are going to get injured playing it, weve got to look at it. Up to this stage we have never had anyone missing cricket through playing it so its something weve got to look at. Youd like to think players would be sensible enough in the warm-up not to take it too far. When we do play football we have a no tackling rule. Any injury is not ideal, you want a full squad to choose from. The ritual of playing football before matches has been criticised in the past. Matt Prior suffered a back spasm while playing football during Englands warm up for the fourth Ashes Test at Headingley. Ironically, Denly was a promising footballer as a teenager and once had a trial with Charlton Athletic. However, he turned to cricket after suffering a broken arm. punters gamble: pages 38&39 by james goldman Great Dane: Bendtner rejected Barca Arsenal keep hold of Barca target Bendtner LennontobeEnglandswing wizard in absence of Theo by david dibble Boy in blue: Gael Kakuta, the 18-year-old signed by Chelsea from Lens two years ago HH JERMAIN DEFOE believes his Spurs club-mate Aaron Lennon can wing it for England as they prepare for the crucial World Cup qualifier against Croatia next week. A year ago it was another young star from north London who made an international name for himself when Arsenals Theo Walcott lined up against Slaven Bilics side to score a hat-trick in a 4-1 victory. Lennons superb start to the season has prompted his inclusion in the England squad and although Shaun Wright-Phillips, James Milner, David Beckham and Ashley Young will argue otherwise, it is the Tottenham winger whose case to start is the most compelling. Aaron can definitely step in and do the job for England, said Defoe. He has played at this level before, so he knows what it takes to go out there and play well. Shaun Wright-Phillips has had a good start to the season but I see Aaron day in and day out and he is just frightening. He is really on song right now. He is scoring goals at the moment, which is important as well, and I am not sure Croatia will want to play against someone like that. Indeed, the damage Walcott inflicted against the same opponents may urge Capello to field a player with similar qualities for a match in which victory will seal Englands place at next summers World Cup finals. Confidence is a problem that has afflicted both young players in the past but Lennons could hardly be higher right now. A stoppage-time winner for Spurs against Birmingham capped an excellent opening to his Premier League campaign which has seen Spurs mixing it with the big four. Defoe said: His pace is unbelievable. When he is direct and has got the ball at his feet to run at defenders, they dont know how to handle him. The Spurs forward is also in stunning form and netted twice as a second-half substitute in Englands last match, a 2-2 friendly draw against Holland. And he paid tribute to his club manager Harry Redknapp. You try and do whatever it takes and try to win the game for him, he said. Having a ball: Aaron Lennon can do Theo Walcott against Croatia, says Defoe index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html