Kevin Keegan has again come out to say that Damien Duff is definitely in his future plans for Newcastle United.
Damien Duff – chomping at the bit to play
Keegan says the left winger has been outstanding in training, and was not at all surprised with his good showing in the 3-0 win against Reading, when he almost scored at the end of that game.
Keegan told the Shields Gazette today:
“Damien’s champing at the bit â€“ he’s been absolutely outstanding in training,”
He’s over that injury now. That’s all behind him, and he can look ahead with some optimism, because he’s very fit.â€
“I think he’ll need a few more games, and he’s nearly there. Michael (Owen) needed 10 games on the trot to get back to his best, and Duffer will be a lot better with a pre-season and some games.â€
“He’s worked very, very hard, and I’d have liked to have given him a bit longer (against Reading), but that was the way it was.”
With Newcastle having three wins and a draw in their last 4 games Duff, Alan Smith, Charles Nâ€™Zogbia and James Milner, will all need to be at their very best to win their places back in the side.
Keegan is adamant that when Duff does return to the first team he will be in a completely different side to the one which Damien was in just a short few weeks back.
“If Duffer, James Milner and Smithy come back into this side, they’ll notice a big difference from the one they went out of, and it’s all down to confidence.â€
“It’s got nothing to do with them not being there, it’s just the players have now got confidence and belief.â€
“But, at the moment, the guys in possession are just saying: ‘I want to keep this shirt’, so I’m not going to mess around with it too much.”
It’s obvious that Kevin sees Duff as part of his reconstituted first team squad for next season, and if he does decide to go back to a 4-4-2 formation Duff will be ready to take one of the wing spots.
He will not be put up for sale in the summer, that seems certain.