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Alexey Ionov: "I'm not leaving Zenit at all"

- How are you doing at pre-season practice?
- Fine. The mood is great, and I`m getting a lot of pleasure from our practices.

- How are you putting up physically?
- Alright. Of course I`m tired, but that`s normal.

- You scored a goal in the first match of the year against Sparta. Is that a good sign?
- It`s always nice to score, even in a friendly match. I hit the post about 20 minutes before I scored against Sparta, and of course I was a little disappointed, but then I kept playing and scored.

- Last season was a little bit tough for you, since you played for both the youth side and the main team. How do you judge the situation?
- How can I judge it? The situation was that I played for the youth team when I didn`t have playing practice in the main side. I didn`t give up, and tried to show all I`ve got, for both teams.

- How do you evaluate your first trip with the main team to its pre-season practice?
- I hope it`s a step forward.

- The coaches put you in positions ranging from fullback for forward. Where do you feel most comfortable on the field?
- Of course I like playing the attack most of all. But it was nothing bad when in last year`s match with Alania, when Anyukov got injured, I played right fullback in place of him. I know the team`s tactics as a whole, and I know what I myself should do in one situation or another. The coaches explain all of that to us.

- Do you have an urge to try playing in a different club, where you`ll have the chance to be a regular starter?
- I don`t want to leave Zenit for now. I don`t see any point. I like the team, the city, and the group. We`ll see how things go in the future.

- How do you feel in the team, being one of the youngest players?
- Totally normal.

- How do you spend your free time at pre-season?
- We have almost no free time: we have a morning practice, then another one four hours later, so there`s just time to relax in between. There was only one day when we got half the day off, and then we went shopping and walked around the city a little.

- Has the pre-season become more interesting since you started playing matches?
- Of course. It`s much more pleasant and interesting to get in shape that way. I think the remaining part of the pre-season will fly by.

- It`s popular now to count how old Russian players will be when the World Cup comes to Russia in 2018.
- I`ll be almost 30.

- Do you imagine yourself with a Russian national team shirt on your back at that tournament?
- I try never to guess what will happen in the future, especially when it`s so far away.

- What goals do you have in 2011?
- I have to try to earn a place in the main side, and to do that I have to work hard at every practice, not let up, and keep setting higher challenges.