Given – Newcastle Yet To See Real Damien Duff

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 £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:

“Damien feels he has a point to prove,” “He admits that people haven’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 that’s a quality player who can be one of the best wide players in the division.”

“Damien 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.”

“I was over the moon when we got him because I know what a good player he is because I’ve played with him for a long time with Ireland, I don’t see why he can’t get back to that level again.” “He 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.”

“I 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.”

When Newcastle signed Damien Duff from Chelsea last year, for the relatively small fee of ₤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.

Comments welcome.

22 comments so far

  • Steve K

    Oct 4, 2007 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #1

    Duff’s injury record is serious. He’s managed an average of only 22 Premier League games since 2001. He hasn’t had a full season since 04/05 without serious injury. This suggests a player who will break down again and again, with or without Sam’s mercurial powers.

    However, Duff is a very talented winger and if Sam can keep him fit he will give us options on either wing. Having N’Zogbia playing well means Duff is not massively missed, and Zoggy will give us more goals that Damien. However they could both play in the same team – and Duff’s extra trickery is missing from our side at the moment as we all know.

  • SingKing

    Oct 4, 2007 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #2

    Too right we have not seen the best of Duffer. He needs to prove his worth and quickly or join Steve Carr at the golf club. He seemed to like Jose’s 433 when he first went to Chelsea so maybe there is hope. All this shows is that Shay is a good mate.

  • playzogcentremid

    Oct 4, 2007 at 12:17 PM

    Comment #3

    With the team’s lack of creativity at the moment, as soon as Duff’s back and fit, Zog should be moved into the middle. Even if Barton’s fit, there’s no reason why he and Zog can’t play centre mid together. He’s even learnt to tackle a bit from playing at left back. There’s no way that both Geremi and Butt should be in the starting line up as they are both basically spoilers. Also Geremi’s free kicks have been poor without exception this season. Even now, if you are going to play Emre, I’d put him rather than Zog on the left and still play Charlie in the middle, as it will be less damaging for the team if and when Emre goes missing in that hole in the ground he so often occupies if he’s wide rather than central. Obviously that means Sam playing someone else at left back, but I can’t see why Enrique can’t play there, or even Geremi, Taylor or Faye at a push.

  • Bill F

    Oct 4, 2007 at 12:23 PM

    Comment #4

    Another “if only player” we certainly seem to have had our share of them. Be nice to be saying “my god didn’t we do well getting him/them”. There is potential but we want substance.

  • leo

    Oct 4, 2007 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #5

    hmm would love to say that also, but i always get the sinking feeling we will have to wait along time for it

  • Craig Allen

    Oct 4, 2007 at 12:49 PM

    Comment #6

    If Duff’s match fit and hits form, how do u accomodate Duff, Zog, Milner, Emre, Barton in the same midfield other than substitution? Then there’s Geremi, Faye, Butt who could possible become perrenial bench warmers. Unless Sam’s only looking to rotate Zog and Duff wide left – if the Bull’s match fit and playing regularly.

  • Bill F

    Oct 4, 2007 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #7

    Craig wouldn’t it be bl**dy marvelous if we/Sam had that problem.

  • John

    Oct 4, 2007 at 1:27 PM

    Comment #8

    exactly…Duff on hes day is one off the best wingers in the prem. I would start him over milner once hes fully fit as he will score more than milner but def a close call.

  • Rich

    Oct 4, 2007 at 2:49 PM

    Comment #9

    ye when they were fully fit and depending on form id go for

    Duff Barton Emre N Zogbia

    Seems harsh on Milner but still think Duff n Zog are more complete players but Milner could prove me wrong!!

  • Rich

    Oct 4, 2007 at 3:08 PM

    Comment #10

    When everyone fit full team id play would be:

    Beye Cacapa Rozenthal Enrique

    Duff Barton Emre N Zogbia

    Martins Viduka

    Subs: Harper, Taylor, Owen, Milner, Geremi

  • Steve K

    Oct 4, 2007 at 3:31 PM

    Comment #11

    Long term Milner’s future is in doubt. He’s a decent player with a good attitude but he’s not penetrating enough to be a first class winger.

    You could stick Duff out on the right, himself and Robben used to swap wings all the time.

    Zog in the middle is an interesting proposition, I know he claims it’s his favourite position but his movement is so superb on the wing. Newcastle need his goals at the moment so there is no suggestion of not accommodating the Zog on the wings.

    Duff and Zog, right and left respectively. Nice one.

  • John

    Oct 4, 2007 at 3:39 PM

    Comment #12

    im nearly the same , Id play


    Beye Roz Faye Enrique

    Duff Barton Geremi Zog

    Martins Viduka

  • Bob

    Oct 4, 2007 at 4:24 PM

    Comment #13

    I think that it is far too early to say that Milner’s future is in doubt.

    He’s still 21 and was in great form last year. His end product has vastly improved over the past 2/3 years and there is still time on his side.

    He could still become one of the best wingers in this league – and based on Duff’s pre-injury form, I would take Milner instead.

  • Ashton

    Oct 4, 2007 at 4:45 PM

    Comment #14

    we should sell him and buy a class righ wing quarisma will bee nice

  • Rich

    Oct 4, 2007 at 4:52 PM

    Comment #15

    Quaresma would be quality hes amazing but wed need to get back in the champions league to get him, we need a right winger tho defo, We should have got Dimitri Payet in the summer

  • Todd

    Oct 4, 2007 at 5:34 PM

    Comment #16

    I believe the team is going to add a few folks in January and next summer as well. Going to need depth if you are planning on campaigning in Europe next year.

  • Ashton

    Oct 4, 2007 at 5:53 PM

    Comment #17

    Dimitri Payet is a left winger N’zogbia is a far better than him but don’t think fat sam will buy any young talanted players in jan he will buy old big fat players

  • Tom_Toon

    Oct 4, 2007 at 7:17 PM

    Comment #18

    Wouldnt mind Roberto Hilbert.

    Or even someone older like Bernd Schneider to give some experience to milner.

  • hadrian

    Oct 4, 2007 at 11:51 PM

    Comment #19

    chelsea really missed duff after he left , yet we have never got to see exactly what they missed , looking forward to letting duff show us .

  • Tom from Aus

    Oct 4, 2007 at 11:54 PM

    Comment #20

    i wonder wat zog would be like in the middle because if he is good in that area we can have duff, zog and milner on. maybe like this


    but wat about the others. its a hard choice

  • Sinead

    Oct 5, 2007 at 1:06 AM

    Comment #21

    LOL, ye actually don’t have any patcience do ye. No Duff, if he’s given the chance he’ll show is worth. Which going by how he used to play before he came to Newcastle..bloody good.

  • Rich

    Oct 5, 2007 at 8:54 AM

    Comment #22

    Ashton.. i know Payet plays on the left but hes really really good, but ur rite in saying weve got a lot of young talented players


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