MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia and Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Roman Shirokov wants to take a shot at the English Premier League before his playing career is over, the player said on Thursday.
“I think I have a few years left so I would like to try myself in a top league abroad,” the 31-year-old told reporters.
”If it was up to me I’d prefer England. I don’t think top clubs there would take me but I wouldn’t mind joining any team from number five to 10. I think that would suit me perfectly.
“I don’t know if I would change clubs over the summer but my agents are working on it and if something suitable would come up, then I’d like to try it,” said Shirokov, who has a contract with Zenit until June next year.
He was considered a late bloomer, making his national team debut at the age of 27 shortly after joining Russian champions Zenit from struggling league rivals FK Khimki in 2008.
Shirokov was Russia’s top scorer with six goals in 2012 and also led Zenit in scoring with five goals in last season’s Champions League - not a bad return for a holding midfielder.
He continued his hot streak in Wednesday’s friendly against Iceland, scoring one and assisting on the other to lead Russia to a 2-0 victory.
“It took us almost the entire first half to get going but then we didn’t look too bad considering it was the first game of the year,” said Shirokov, who opened the scoring in the 43rd minute of the game, played in the Spanish resort of Marbella.
“I‘m a bit tired now, it was a long flight to Moscow, then taking a train (to the city) to come here,” he told reporters following a presentation of Nike’s new boots.
Shirokov was confident he could be a success in the Premier League, where many of his compatriots, such as Arsenal forward Andrei Arshavin, former Chelsea winger Yuri Zhirkov and ex-Tottenham Hotspur striker Roman Pavlyuchenko, failed to impress, saying: “It’s about time someone should finally make it there.”
Asked if he was keeping in touch with his former Zenit team mate Arshavin, Shirokov said: “We weren’t that close when he played for Zenit so I haven’t spoken to him for a while, but I‘m sure I would come to visit him if I end up playing in London.”
Reporting by Gennady Fyodorov, editing by Justin Palmer