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Last Updated: Friday, 12 September, 2003, 06:11 GMT 07:11 UK
Sent from Coventry
Perugia's Jay Bothroyd (right)
Bothroyd (right) is learning how to cope with close attention from defenders
When Jay Bothroyd was released by Coventry he probably did not think he would end up as the only Englishman in Serie A.

But that is precisely what happened to the 23-year-old who is now knocking in the goals for Perugia.

Bothroyd joined the Italian club in the summer after being told he was surplus to requirements by Coventry boss Gary McAllister, despite scoring 11 goals as the Sky Blues stumbled to 20th place in Division One last term.

The player then raised eyebrows in both England and Italy when he signed a three-year deal after he impressed Perugia in a trial match.

A succession of productive performances in Perugia's Intertoto Cup campaign - which earned them a place in the Uefa Cup - were followed by a goal on his Serie A debut against Siena.

"The standard here is more than a step up, it's a big leap," said Bothroyd.

"Technically and tactically things are on a different level. Everyone from the goalkeepers to the strikers is comfortable on the ball and so much more time is spent on developing skills."

Bothroyd is hoping to succeed where the likes of Luther Blissett and Ian Rush failed after moving to AC Milan and Juventus respectively.

"I don't have an answer [why English strikers have struggled in Serie A], but maybe I'll know in six months time," he said.

It's a great challenge for me and I'm ready for it, otherwise I wouldn't be here
Jay Bothroyd

"The marking is definitely a lot tighter and defenders will do anything to slow you up.

"Shirt-pulling goes on in every country but it seems to happen a lot more in Italy, particularly at corners.

"You just have to get used to it. It's part and parcel of the game and you can't afford to lose your cool. Getting you booked or sent off is what they want."

Bothroyd has grown up a lot since a perceived attitude problem saw him leave boyhood club Arsenal without making a first team appearance.

Coventry saw enough potential in the teenager to shell out 1m but, despite moving into the England under-21 squad, Bothroyd could not impress McAllister.

He added: "It's a great challenge for me and I'm ready for it, otherwise I wouldn't be here."




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