Charles Nâ€™Zogbia seemed to play fairly well during the first half against Spurs on Monday night, but the Frenchman was withdrawn at half time because he was feeling ill.Of course, as we now know young James Milner came on and played well as usual, and was even able to get his first goal for the club â€“ and what a great goal it was.
Sam Allardyce has said that Nâ€™Zogbia actually tried to hide the fact he was unwell in the dressing room at half-time so he could stay on against Spurs. But Big Sam and his capable medical staff felt the 21-year-old should not continue and decided to replace him.
Charles N’Zogbia – felt unwell during the first half on Monday night
Competition for places is so high that when you have the shirt it looks like even when you are sick you want to keep playing 😀 But it was good that Sam and his staff saw through Charles, for his own good quite honestly, as he could have made himself a lot worse. So we think that was a sensible move by the Newcastle staff.
Sam Allardyce talked to the Evening Chronicle about Charles before they left today for Reading:
â€œCharles was feeling unwell on Monday night and he was not breathing correctly.â€ â€œHe was trying not to tell us, but we finally found out.â€
â€œHe did not want to come off â€“ he wanted to stay on.â€ â€œWe made the right decision. Itâ€™s hard enough playing at this pace anyway, let alone if youâ€™re feeling unwell.â€
â€œPhysically, you are not at the level you can be.â€ â€œBut heâ€™s OK. Heâ€™s back in training and in the squad for Reading.â€
Jose Enrique is now playing very solidly at left back (what an exciting player he is to watch) and this of course has freed Charles up to play in his normal left midfield position. However, if Jose misses a game for any reason we feel Sam would again replace him with Charles. Maybe Babayaro can start making some impact at left back â€“ and without being too harsh on Celestine – he needs to. Babayaro has been out injured since early March and only last night did he play his first game back – in Newcastle Reserves’ 2-1 defeat at Liverpool.
We have to applaud the attitude of young Charles this season too, and there was not a word of protest from him when Sam asked him to play at left back, which he didnâ€™t like to do last season, at least for Glenn Roeder. But it looks like Charles has matured a lot since being taken under the wing of Newcastle captain Geremi.
Charles also finally won international recognition with Franceâ€™s Under-21s this season, and they played him at left back! Allardyce continued:
â€œTo tell the truth, I am not sure what Charlesâ€™s best position is.â€â€œHe is certainly a talented player, but he has got to maintain the level he has set himself and he must not dip below that level.â€
â€œIâ€™m quite excited about the ability he has got, and I am encouraging him to produce that ability now he is back in the team on a regular basis.â€
â€œFrom what looked a dismal position for me and him, he has got international recognition. All of a sudden, we have turned it round.â€
Credit for the turnaround also has to go to Big Sam of course, but he gives almost all the credit to Geremi, who seems to have had a profound and positive effect on the young Frenchman. Thatâ€™s something we just love to see. We all knew Charles was a special talent when Sir Bobby Robson brought him to the club 3 years ago from Le Havre. Now heâ€™s proving just how good he is.
Well done Charles â€“ and as Sam says â€“ keep it up.