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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec, 28, 2006

Lehmann ignores talk of hanging up his gloves

Jens Lehmann may turn 38 next year but the Arsenal goalkeeper has no intention of retiring just yet.

The German international is set to hold further talks with the Gunners early in 2007 over the possibility of extending his current contract, which runs out at the end of the season.

Lehmann remains hopeful of securing a two-year deal, although the club are unlikely to waiver from their policy of only offering senior players a 12-month extension with the option to renew.

Reports have linked the veteran `keeper with a return to the Bundesliga and also Seville.

However, suggestions Lehmann would call time on his playing career following the 2008 European Championships were quickly dismissed.

Lehmann said: 'That is not true. I have never mentioned I will retire after the Euros in 2008.

'What I said was I would likely retire from the national team - but I could also have said I would be likely to go on, which then says nothing.'

Lehman insisted: 'If I can keep fit, like I am now, then I can go on and on and on - two years at least.'

He told Arsenal TV Online: 'At 37, you cannot really make big steps of improvement, you always have to maintain.

'If I can maintain that and possibly slightly improve my level, then that would be good.'

Lehmann was sent-off in the final of last season's Champions League against Barcelona, before then going on to help host nation Germany reach the semi-finals of the World Cup.

Although now rated as one of the top `keepers in the game, the former Borussia Dortmund man went through a difficult spell at Highbury when he was left out of the first team during the 2004/2005 campaign and had to play second choice to Manuel Almunia.

Lehmann said: 'Fortunately I turned things around and since then I have had two very good years. It always reminds me how quickly it can go the other way.

'I have always come out stronger from all of my experiences and I think that happened again.'

The Gunners head into Saturday's clash with relegation battlers Sheffield United some 14 points behind leaders Manchester United, but on the back of a six-match unbeaten Premiership run.

That has been without injured captain Thierry Henry, but stand-in skipper Gilberto has chalked up four goals - netting in the last three matches.

The Brazilian, 30, said: 'I do not know if captaincy has made a difference, but I have enjoyed scoring goals.

'Most of the time I stand in front of the defenders, doing the hard job, holding the midfield and stopping them playing out of defence, so I normally do not have many chances.'

Victory at Watford on Boxing Day came at a cost following a thigh injury to in-form Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor, so he will not face the Blades. Defender Johan Djourou (hamstring) faces a fitness test ahead of the trip to Yorkshire.

But Gilberto believes the camaraderie within the squad that has helped them find some consistency will help them through a difficult festive period.

He said: 'We work as a team. In the last few games, we have showed a fantastic spirit.'

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