South American Spin

Last updated : 02 May 2002 By Christian Kelly

Agustin Delgado, who has been quoted as saying he's looking forward to playing for Saints next year, is in fact bitter about his treatment and wants to leave as soon as possible.

Apparently the Tin Man said: "I have really had a very bad experience in England. I don't enjoy my days there at all. The people there thought that I didn't want to play, but I was injured. My left knee was never right. The doctors failed the diagnosis," added Delgado. He wants to focus on the World Cup, saying: "That's all I want to think about I want to do a good job there and after that I will see where I can play."

While I think the club, in particular Gordon Strachan in public, could have handled it better, Delgado will surely be wanting to prove his minority of critics wrong by impressing next season. To do anything else would just justify those criticisms, and having a "quitter" tag isn't something you want to carry round with you.

Still I wouldn't rule out the club offloading him if Delgado has a reasonable World Cup, although it would surely strengthen ties with Ecuador if we could do well by its players. A quick sale may be short sighted.

Rupert Lowe seems keen for the player to stay, telling the official site: "This is the silly season for news reports. Very often these are inaccurate or misrepresented and we do not know exactly what was said and in what context.

"The fact is that Tino is under contract for three years, he is registered to Southampton and cannot play for any other club. That is the situation.

"We have allowed him to go back to prepare for the World Cup but have agreed with him that he will return afterwards for pre-season to get ready for the new campaign.

"He is a very exciting player and Gordon Strachan and the staff are looking forward to working with him next season.

"He has a contract with Southampton and if he wants to play football, he has to come back to us.

"Apparently he's doing well and we wish him and Ecuador all the best. We want him firing on all cylinders and we're looking forward to having back for pre-season training."