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Daniel Agger Feels He Has Earned the "Right" to Start

After making his first start in nearly seven weeks, Daniel Agger is happy to be back but potentially cranky about the length of the layoff, depending on your interpretation choices and/or translation services.

That is some major Lucas cut-eye. Wow.
That is some major Lucas cut-eye. Wow.
Alex Livesey

Daniel Agger made his long awaited return to the starting line-up on Saturday vs Fulham, having not started since the loss to Southampton in late September. It was always a matter of when and not if Agger would return to the starting line-up, but considerations of the form and general merit of his centre back colleagues had complicated Brendan Rodgers' decision until last Saturday.

"I have been waiting for this chance and, as I have said before, you have to take it when you get it," Agger told Danish TV outlet TV3+. "I feel I have got the right to play, and of course I would have liked it to have come earlier. But in the end it is the coach who decides.

"We didn't feel threatened, therefore it was just a matter of keeping our concentration and staying focused on what happens and not watch too much football. But we are happy that we had a clean sheet and scored some goals."

If you're a fan of tempests in tea cups then it's easy to get worked up about a player saying he has a "right" to play — "How dare he be so arrogant!" etc. — and a few early news items on Agger's statements quickly painted a picture of an unhappy player. The more likely and far more boring option is, of course, that Agger's trademark bluntness came through the Danish-to-English translation more harshly than usual.

The word "right" may rub some the wrong way, even if Agger's point is generally accurate beyond that. Agger didn't lose his starting position due to poor form, after all; freak injuries happen and sometimes the reason you're being kept out of the line-up has nothing to do with your form and everything to do with the form of your teammates. On merit he deserved a start — or had a "right" to start if we want to couch the discussion in those terms — but he didn't simply because his teammates also have earned that same right and, as Agger says, it's ultimately Rodgers' decision.

In any case, Agger is back. He acquitted himself well in partnership with Martin Skrtel and nearly had a goal himself early in the game. Agger's job now is to make sure that he continues to earn that spot in the starting line-up and hope that he does to Mamadou Sakho or Kolo Touré what they've previously done to him: played well enough to keep him out of the line-up.

It's certainly not the first time we've said it and it definitely won't be the last: these are good problems to have.

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