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New stars in friendly debuts

English Barclays Premiership

George Graham was satisfied with our side after a comfortable 4-0 win in the first game of the pre-season tour of Sweden and Finland.

Our three new star signings, Sergei Rebrov, Ben Thatcher and Neil Sullivan, all played against Skelleftea of the Swedish Second Division and there were comebacks from injury for Les Ferdinand, Oyvind Leonhardsen and Ramon Vega.

Even David Ginola played on the day he was linked with a move to Marseille, although Graham denied any knowledge of such a move - repeating denials from director of football David Pleat back in England.

"I personally don't know anything about this. I'm sure, if there was anything official, the club would let me know about it. But I have no problems playing David."

Ginola played the first 45 minutes before becoming the first of nine substitutions as Graham eased his side into their first game. Having trained in the morning, they immediately took control on a tricky pitch, with long grass that made passing difficult.

A crowd of around 2,000 locals and a handful of travelling Spurs fans saw Chris Armstrong open the scoring in the 38th minute with a typical header, after Rebrov had set Darren Anderton free on the right. Armstrong saw a couple of other chances fly wide and Anderton had a free-kick tipped round the post, while Ian Walker had little to do at the other end.

Graham changed things at half-time, bringing on Ferdinand as one of three substitutes, and the former England striker had a header tipped on to the bar in the 62nd minute. Rebrov looked sharp but was eventually replaced by Steffen Iversen, who scored twice in the space of five minutes. He headed in Ben Thatcher's left-wing cross in the 73rd minute and then netted from close range after a volley from Matthew Etherington, Ginola's replacement, was tipped onto the woodwork.

Ferdinand, back after a series of Achilles' tendon problems, completed the scoring in the closing stages when he headed in from close range following a free-kick from the left.

He said: "It was good to be back and get a goal. The Achilles was no problem and I just need games now to get my fitness back."

Graham added: "It was a good work out and just about everyone got a game. The new boys did very well and it is good to see players like Les and Oyvind Leonhardsen back from injury."

Team; Walker (Sullivan 60), Young (Carr 80), Perry (Campbell 80), Vega (Gardner 68), Thatcher, Anderton (Leonhardsen 68), Freund, Sherwood (Clemence 45) Ginola (Etherington 45) Armstrong (Ferdinand 45), Rebrov (Iversen 68).

Goals: Armstrong 37, Iversen 73, 77 Ferdinand 89

For a look at the second and fourth goals - click here

Photographs courtesy of Action Images Ltd.

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