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By ESPN Staff
Jan 12, 2006

Benitez delighted after Agger completes Reds move

Rafael Benitez believes new £5.8million signing Daniel Agger can become the bedrock of Liverpool's defence in the next decade and will be one of the best centre-backs in Britain.

The Liverpool manager introduced his latest acquisition aware the 21-year-old would be facing stiff competition from regular central defenders Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyypia.

But what is clear is the Denmark international is now being groomed as the eventual successor to the 32-year-old Hyypia, who only last summer signed a new three-year contract.

'We have been looking a long while for a centre-back, we have looked all around the world,' said Benitez.

'But Agger has the great qualities we wanted. He is good with the ball but also with his positioning. He already has international experience and a great future, the kind of player that I like.

'If you are 21 and you can train and work with Sami and Jamie you can learn a lot. It will be fantastic to have these great players to help him progress.

'He will be one of the best centre-backs in England in the future, I am sure of that.'

Benitez was also impressed with Agger's attitude and his desire to move to Anfield.

'It was important he has said he wants to play for us. We have talked to lots of players and agents but the first time we spoke to Danny he said it was a dream to play for us,' said the Spaniard.

'For the most part players think only of money. If you are going to play for Liverpool you must think of other things first.

'We need good players to win trophies, it is hard to find them before they are 20 or so, but that is what we must do.

'We have a good team and with that you can sign young players and give them time to learn.

'A 28-year-old will cost you big money but a youngster like Danny can be worked with and he can become Liverpool's centre-back for the next 10 years.

'We can then save big money in the future.'

Agger accepts he has a tough job to dislodge Hyypia or Carragher but said: 'I'm happy to be at one of the world's top clubs.

'My aim is just to become a better player and win trophies and I hope Rafa can help me do that.

'It is a big job to displace Jamie and Sami from this team but that is my job and I will fight for my place.

'I know it will be difficult to break into this team, they are the champions of Europe.

'I am aware of my countryman Jan Molby being at Liverpool. I know how good a player he was and what a great hero he was here, but if I can do anywhere near as good as him here I will be happy.'

Benitez will now continue his search for a new right-sided midfielder but complained that signing English players was difficult because of their prohibitive price.

'We will continue to look for good players all around the world. Normally when I talk with scouts we talk about English players but the problem here is the price,' he said.

'In January it is more difficult. Most good players are playing in good teams and they are playing for something in terms of trophies.

'If you do not pay very big money, crazy sometimes, you cannot sign English players.

'Have you seen the prices being asked for home-grown players? If those prices were cut, that is the only way we can sign them.'

Liverpool have, however, also completed the signing of one Englishman - MK Dons and England youth goalkeeper David Martin, son of former West Ham and England defender Alvin Martin.