Alan Smith has quickly become a crowd favorite at Newcastle as it’s plain to see his positive attitude on the playing field.
Of course Alan had tasted success earlier in his career at Leeds when they were challenging for the Champions League under then manager David O’Leary .
The fact that English billionaire owner Mike Ashley has chosen to wear the number 17 shirt that Smith wears, has produced some laughs in the dressing no doubt, and Alan talked about this and many other things yesterday.
Alan Smith with Allardyce, obviously Mike Ashley liked the look of that number 17 shirt 😀
This is what Alan Smith said yesterday:
“Yes, there has been a fair bit of banter about that, but I can confirm I’m not the owner’s son!â€ “It’s put a bit of pressure on me, though, while giving the other lads a laugh.â€
“There’s a great spirit at Newcastle which is showing in our results.â€ “There is a feeling around the place, which reminds me of Leeds when we were challenging at the top of the Premier League and doing so well in the Champions League.â€
“The manager Sam Allardyce knows what he wants and lets you know if he doesn’t get it.â€ “It’s almost a whole new team, and it’s like everyone has turned up at a brand new club.â€
“I’m not saying we’ll win the league, but it’s as open as I can remember.”Â “It’s not going to be so easy for the top four to beat the rest.â€ “A lot of clubs have spent money and are aiming at the Champions League, which is good for the competition.â€
“We have to believe we can get there, and England have to believe they can qualify for Euro 2008.â€ “It could be a great season, but I know never to take anything for granted. Being injured for so long taught me that.”
Alan of course suffered a terrible broken leg playing for Manchester United against Liverpool at Anfield the season before last. The injury was described by Sir Alex Ferguson as “one of the worst I’ve seen”. It was definitely a bad break and it was clear at the time, by the reaction of the club, how he was held in high esteem by both the manager, crowd and players. He is looking to doing the same at Newcastle although it looks like Sam will play him in multiple different positions. Smith insists the best is yet to come from him at Newcastle:
“These days I just enjoy every minute of being involved in football. I’m getting picked regularly for my club, and England still want me.â€ “Believe me, that’s a position I couldn’t have dreamed about last summer.â€ “I know there were a lot of managers and coaches who were telling people I’d never be the same again, and I began to wonder myself.â€
“Nobody questions whether I might have to pack in or play at a lower level. They have seen I can do it againâ€Â “There’s still a lot to come from me â€“ I’m not at my best.â€ “But the fans seem to appreciate I’m giving it 100 per cent. I’m not shirking any tackles, and I still get stuck in for 90 minutes, from the first whistle to the last.â€
“I’m not saying that is anything special, because giving 100 per cent effort should be the minimum requirement for any footballer.â€Â Â “But I’m not sure you can say that about every player these days.”
Smith is in the England squad for the European Championship qualifiers against Israel and Russia at Wembley in the next week or so. Those game swill be crucial for England to win if they are indeed going to qualify for next year’s finals. Alan has played 18 times for England, and scored one goal. He will be looking to add significantly to that total while at Newcastle for at least the next 5 years.