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Soccer-Costa Rica's Campbell can go all the way to the top

Reuters

(Fixes typo in fourth paragraph)

By Philip O'Connor

June 16 (Reuters) - Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell is ready to put a turbulent three-year period behind him and establish himself at the very highest level following the World Cup, according to team mate Celso Borges.

Campbell, who scored his side's first goal in their 3-1 win over Uruguay in their opening Group D game, couldn't secure a work permit in England when he signed for Arsenal in 2011, and was loaned out to French side Lorient.

The 21-year-old spent further loan spells with Real Betis in Spain and Olympiacos in Greece, where he caught the eye by scoring the second goal in a 2-0 Champions League home win for the Greeks against Manchester United in February.

"As a player, Joel is one of the biggest talents I have ever seen. He can go as far as he wants," Borges told Reuters from the team's World Cup base in Santos, 70 kilometres outside Sao Paulo.

"He is the real thing," said Borges. "His ability to go one against one is what gives him the chance to go the extra mile."

Borges believes that the talented 21-year-old will catch the eyes of many at the World Cup.

"He is going to go as far as he wants to in the game, and I wouldn't be shocked if some of the biggest teams in the world end up fighting over him," Borges said.

Campbell himself has been playing down talk of where he might end up next season, preferring to focus on the World Cup.

"In this moment, I don't want to speak about my future," Campbell told reporters after his perfromance against Uruguay, which won him the man of the match award.

"I only think about my country because I have total respect for my team. I have all my mind on Costa Rica."

Despite signing a five-year contract when he arrived from Deportivo Saprissa in 2011, Campbell has yet to make an appearance for Arsenal, but manager Arsene Wenger says his chance is coming.

"He will definitely come back to us for pre-season," Wenger told Britain's Daily Mail newspaper in Brazil, where he is working as an expert for French TV. "He is maturing well."

Currently leading Group D, Costa Rica take on second-placed Italy at the Pernambuco arena in Recife on Friday before rounding off the group stage against England in Belo Horionte on June 24. (Reporting By Philip O'Connor, Editing by Nigel Hunt)

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