Benitez agrees to Carson loan

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has agreed to Scott Carson’s pleas not to have his England future ruined by a season on the bench.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has agreed to Scott Carson’s pleas not to have his England future ruined by a season on the bench.

Carson will join Aston Villa on loan for another season away from Anfield, having spent last term at Charlton.

Benitez has refused to sell Carson this summer, and had told the player he will be Jose Reina’s number two.

But with Carson now a regular in the England squad and the Euro 2008 finals at the end of the new campaign, months of activity would not have helped his cause.

Carson has now pleaded with Benitez to allow him the chance to maintain his form and match fitness in a loan spell.

Benitez said: “I have talked to Scott and he understandably wants to play every week.

“He wants to maintain his position in the England squad. And it would suit us if he was playing and improving, and that is what will happen.”

Liverpool are now attempting to sign Lens ’keeper Charles Itandje as Reina’s understudy.

It is hoped that the deal will be concluded later today so that Itandje can be registered before tonight’s deadline to be in the squad for next Wednesday’s Champions League qualifier in Toulouse.

If the paperwork is not completed in time, Carson will have to spend another week or so at Anfield and travel with the squad to France.

He would not have been able to play for Villa against Liverpool on Saturday under the Premier League’s rules forbidding loan players to face their parent clubs.

And with Villa’s game next week with Blackburn postponed because of the Ewood Park club’s European commitments, there is no major rush for Carson to arrive at Villa Park.

Benitez said: “I am happy with the situation and for Scott to play regularly somewhere else. We do not want to lose him, certainly not sell him because we are very happy with him.

“He is a good lad and a very promising goalkeeper. But I can understand his need to maintain his place in the England squad. It will benefit him to be out on loan and for us to sign a new goalkeeper, then we will have three ’keepers all in action.”

Benitez has seen Jerzy Dudek join Real Madrid, and he does not consider that youngster David Martin – his number three – is up to Champions League football just yet.

There is a similar view regarding new Bulgarian ’keeper Nikolay Mihaylov, 19, who joined this summer from Levski Sofia.

Itandje, 24, is a former French U21 ’keeper and has been linked with Manchester United, Villa, Lyon and Real Betis this summer.

Benitez also expressed his confidence in the outcome of his attempts to sign Gabriel Heinze from Manchester United.

Sir Alex Ferguson insists that he will not sell the full-back to Liverpool under any circumstances, even if Liverpool have met United’s valuation.

Heinze has called in his lawyers and after a meeting with Ferguson this week, will now have the case heard by a Premier League commission later this month.

Benitez said: “The situation with Heinze is very clear and I am confident in the outcome. I am not looking for any other left-back.”

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