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Last Updated: Monday, 11 June 2007, 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK
Fabianski issues Lehmann warning
By Martin Harasimowicz and Simon Austin

FABIANSKI PROFILE
Lukasz Fabianski
Date of birth: 18 April 1985
Birthplace: Kostrzyn nad Odra
Previous clubs: Lech Poznan, Legia Warsaw
International caps: Four
Lukasz Fabianski has warned Jens Lehmann that he expects to be Arsenal's first-choice goalkeeper next season.

Pole Fabianski, 22, joined the Gunners from Legia Warsaw in May and will vie with the German and Manuel Almunia for the goalkeeper's jersey.

He told BBC Sport: "Lehmann and Almunia are very good, but I'm not afraid of anyone. I'm confident of my skills.

"I want to be first choice at Arsenal as much as they do. My message is clear - I'm ready to fight from day one."

Lehmann, who signed a new one-year contract with the Gunners in April, insists he has nothing to fear from Fabianski, despite being 15 years his senior.

He said: "When I am physically fit and have nothing distracting me mentally, then nobody can match me for experience."

Being at one of the great clubs in the world won't mean much unless I play

Lukasz Fabianski

Yet the ambitious Fabianski, who has made four appearances for his country and was voted the Polish league's best goalkeeper for the last two seasons, has other ideas.

"Of course I can wait a little bit for my chance, but I'm not coming to Arsenal just to be there," he said in his first interview with the English media.

"I want to become a regular first-team player. Hopefully I'll do it from the very beginning, because I'm ready for this.

606: DEBATE
WarsawWhite

"That was my goal from the start. Being at a club and playing are two different things, I want to play.

"Now I will focus on working hard every day and competing for the number one jersey."

There have been reports that Fabianski could be sent on loan at the start of next season, with Watford a possible destination, yet he is adamant he is going nowhere.

"Nobody has proposed anything to me and I'm not going anywhere," he said.

"I want to be at Arsenal from the start of the season and learn everything about my new team and team-mates.

"I need to get accustomed to training at Arsenal and the atmosphere in the locker room. That's how I see my future at this club."

The Gunners have been monitoring the young keeper for several seasons.

Lukasz Fabianski
Fabianski first trained with Arsenal in 2004

He spent four days training at the club in the summer of 2004 and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has kept tabs on him since then.

"Most of the time I practised alone with the goalkeeping coach because most of the Arsenal players were on holiday. But on my last day I was joined by Manuel Almunia and we trained together for some time.

"At the end of my time Mr Wenger told me, 'Be careful, we will watch you'."

Fabianski went on to have two sensational seasons with Legia Warsaw and was included in Poland's squad for the 2006 World Cup.

Wenger decided to pounce last month after the Pole had been linked with several top European clubs, including Manchester United.

"At the start of last month I was invited to London by Arsenal and had a personal meeting with Mr Wenger," he said.

"I didn't have any expectations, but Mr Wenger told me he wanted me to join Arsenal.

"I tried to stay cool and not be too over-excited, but I felt very honoured.

"However, being at one of the great clubs in the world won't mean much unless I will start to play for Arsenal and show my abilities."

SEE ALSO
Fabianski completes Arsenal move
26 May 07 |  Arsenal


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