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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 September 2005, 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK
Bergkamp eager to make Dutch trip
Dennis Bergkamp celebrates scoring against FC Thun
Dennis Bergkamp says he is willing to travel to Amsterdam in order to play for Arsenal in their Champions League encounter against Ajax.

Bergkamp has often missed European away games due to his fear of flying, but it is likely manager Arsene Wenger, who is short of strikers, may call upon him.

"I don't think going to Amsterdam will be a problem," said Bergkamp.

"I'm always willing. I said goodbye to everybody at the Amsterdam event this summer, but it could be hello again."

Arsenal will be without the injured Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie, who was dismissed in the match against FC Thun on Wednesday, for the game against Ajax in two weeks.

Wenger says he is still unsure whether to use Bergkamp, who is likely to drive to his destination.

"I will make the decision as late as possible. When you make a player travel that far you have to be sure that you will play him," said Wenger.

"Seven hours' travel is sometimes tricky if you want to make changes to your plans at the last second."

Bergkamp came off the bench in Arsenal's first Champions League game of the season to score a last-gasp winner against Swiss side Thun.

"The determination of Dennis was fantastic and a good example for our youngsters," said Wenger.

My player has a black eye and you can see stud marks so, from that point of view, it was a red card
Thun boss Urs Schonenberger on Van Persie's red card
"We had character and quality in our game and kept going.

"It was very important to win because we did not (against Middlesbrough) on Saturday and not doing so against FC Thun would have been mentally difficult for the players."

Thun, in their first Champions League campaign, had a numerical advantage for almost half the match after Van Persie's dismissal.

The Dutchman was shown a straight red after catching Alen Orman in the face with his boot as he jumped to control the ball.

"Ten versus 11 is difficult," added Wenger.

"I think it was the wrong decision, Van Persie did not want to make a foul and tried to play the ball. It was an accident.

"We scored a great goal first and then they scored - I don't know how they scored - I think the guy wanted to cross the ball.

"But that's part of football, you have to accept it - and we had to do it again."

Van Persie now faces a three-match Champions League ban which, coupled with Thierry Henry's absence with a groin injury, would leave Arsenal short on strikers for their next two games away to Ajax and Sparta Prague.

Wenger said Arsenal would investigate whether they have grounds to appeal against the red card, although Uefa's strict regulations make it unlikely they would be successful.

Thun manager Urs Schonenberger said of Van Persie's dismissal: "I thought it was unlucky.

"I said to my player 'that was pretty hard' - but he does have a black eye and you can see stud marks so, from that point of view, it was a red card.

"But I would not say Van Persie did it on purpose."

News conference: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

Interview: Arsenal's Ashley Cole


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