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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 June, 2005, 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK
Kirkland agrees to join West Brom
Liverpool keeper Chris Kirkland
Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has chosen West Brom over Celtic as his destination for a season-long loan.

Kirkland, 24, wants to stay in the Premiership to prove his fitness and win back his England squad place.

"I had the chance to go to Celtic, but I wanted to stay in the Premiership as it is the place to be," said Kirkland.

"All my family are down here as well and with Bryan Robson and Joe Corrigan here, it just seemed the right move, and I'm sure I can justify that."

Kirkland will join up with the Baggies on Friday for a two-week period of training and assessment with a view to signing a loan deal on 15 July.

And Baggies boss Bryan Robson is delighted, saying: "I'm trying to get good competition for places."

West Brom already have Russell Hoult and Tomasz Kuszczak at the club.

"I thought Russell Hoult did a good, steady job for the club last year and we've got great competition in that area with these three goalkeepers," added Robson.

"Chris Kirkland is a top quality keeper who forced his way into the England squad and was then just a bit unlucky with injuries."

Kirkland was ranked as one of England's top young keepers when he moved from Coventry to Liverpool for 6m in 2002.

But his time at Anfield has been dogged by injuries and his future on Merseyside is in doubt.

Champions League final hero Jerzy Dudek, is still at Anfield, while the acquisition of Scott Carson from Leeds and the expected arrival of Villareal keeper Jose Reina has pushed Kirkland down the pecking order.

Ankle, finger, wrist and back injuries restricted Kirkland to just 45 appearances in the last four seasons with Liverpool - but Robson is confident Kirkland's injury problems are behind him.

"The medical staff we've spoken to are confident Chris shouldn't have any ongoing problems after the operation he had on his back," said Robson.

"And hopefully he can stay away from injuries and get back to the form that got him his reputation."

Kirkland's agent Colin Gordon said: "He wants to prove to the football world he is fit again and ready to re-establish himself, not just in the Premiership but as an England goalkeeper.

"There is a World Cup year down the line and that is still very much in his thoughts."


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