Newcastle fans could be excused for forgetting about Damien Duff, our Irish International winger.
Duff has not featured at all since sustaining a foot injury just before the end of our 2-1 loss to Portsmouth in April.
Shay Given has talked about his Irish friend today and revealed Duff is desperate to rebuild his reputation at the club, following his Â£5M move from Chelsea last summer.
Shay Given and Damien Duff – Newcastle and Ireland team mates
Shay Given and his wife Jane (Jane Cunningham) were married in June, 2001 and do a great deal of work for charity and Shay’s remarks came at an event to show his support for the Gateshead Crossroads Young Carers group. This group offers support to young people who are willing to care for relatives with cancer and other serious illnesses.
We wanted to point this out because we believe the Newcastle players can do a lot of good for our community and charities and nobody does more than Shay Given. Here’s what Shay said at the event:
â€œDamien feels he has a point to prove,â€ â€œHe admits that people havenâ€™t seen the best of him at Newcastle because of fitness and injuries and he wants to put things right.”
“He wants Newcastle supporters to see the real Damien Duff and thatâ€™s a quality player who can be one of the best wide players in the division.â€
â€œDamien has been forgotten about a little bit because he has been out injured for so long, but when we signed him I thought he was a magnificent signing and he will feel like that again when he gets back to full fitness.â€
â€œI was over the moon when we got him because I know what a good player he is because Iâ€™ve played with him for a long time with Ireland, I donâ€™t see why he canâ€™t get back to that level again.â€ â€œHe has a bad injury and he is working extremely hard to get back as quickly as possible and it will be a huge boost to the team when he does.â€
â€œI know he is desperate to get back on to the pitch. He is extremely frustrated at the moment because he wants to play again and he hopes to be fitter and stronger than ever.â€
When Newcastle signed Damien Duff from Chelsea last year, for the relatively small fee of â‚¤5M, it was thought to be a coup for Newcastle. At that time Duff was thought to be worth about double that fee. He left Chelsea with glowing remarks from the then Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. But his acquisition stopped the progress of young Charles N’Zogbia at the club and Charles had his worst season at Newcastle with Roeder always preferring Duff when he was fit. Of course N’Zogbia has been great for us this year and Damien will have a fight on his hands to regain a starting position.
However, we would not be at all surprised to see Big Sam start to get the best out of the Irishman, once he is fit. A challenge for Newcastle this season is not only to get their players fit, but to keep them fit. That’s one aspect that isn’t working for us yet, but Sam says it will take time for injuries overall at the club to start to decrease. We hope so, and once Duff gets fit we really hope he can reproduce his old form.
Damien proved at Chelsea that he can be an excellent player on either wing, so we know he has the talent. He has not shown it yet in his one season at Newcastle, except in glimpses. Sam has a history of getting the best out of his players and we think Damien can be an excellent example of how Sam does that. We are very hopeful this will happen, and being positive but also realistic, we think it can.