Sunday 22 April 2018

Joel Campbell says he 'deserved to play more' at Arsenal after joining Sporting Lisbon on loan

Arsenal's Costa Rica forward Joel Campbell has joined Sporting Lisbon on loan
Arsenal's Costa Rica forward Joel Campbell has joined Sporting Lisbon on loan

Samuel Stevens

Joel Campbell says he should have been afforded more playing time at Arsenal last season after joining Sporting Lisbon on a season-long loan last week.

The Costa Rica international is preparing for his fifth such spell away from the Emirates after making 23 appearances for the Gunners last term, although just four of those were in the Premier League, as Arsene Wenger’s side finished in second place.

Campbell has been shipped out to Puntarenas, Lorient, Real Betis, Olympiacos and Villarreal previously after joining Arsenal in 2009 from Costa Rican outfit Deportivo Saprissa but only received a work permit to play in England four years later.

“I feel good, this is a new experience,” Campbell told Portuguese newspaper A Bola. “I think I deserved to play more after what I did last year, but now this is a new stage.”

The forward is considered by some to be a short-term replacement for Algerian striker Islam Slimani after Premier League champions Leicester City secured a club-record £30m swoop of transfer deadline day last week.

Upon joining Leicester, the 27-year-old said: “My dear friend Riyad Mahrez spoke to me lots of times about the club and how good a club it was. The idea of playing together [with Riyad] again is great for both of us, not only at a national team level but at a club level. That’s great for our national team as well.

“I watched almost every game last year that Leicester played. As everyone knows, Leicester City are the Premier League champions – the champions of England. For me, it was a club where I could come and become an even better player and also contribute a lot to the defence of the title.

“Leicester City is without doubt the most supported club in Algeria now thanks to Riyad Mahrez and his participation at the club. It (winning the Premier League) was a big story and what it also showed was that anything can happen in football. That caught everyone’s eye.”

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