Damien Duff scored a good hat trick on Saturday, and looked a completely different player than he has looked over the last two seasons.
Damien Duff – looked so fit on Saturday
The 29-year-old Dublin-born Irishman, was obviously feeling the benefits of a good two weeks of pre-season training with Kevin Keegan and the Newcastle coaching staff.
He was in great form against Hartlepool, and got 3 good goals, which is one more than he’s scored in competitive games, since arriving at Newcastle two years ago, from Chelsea.
Kevin Keegan was asked if Duff is the fittest he has been since his Â£5M transfer from Chelsea and Keegan said:
“There’s absolutely no doubt of that. The lad has never had a pre-season for three years.”
“He is at the weight he was when he was 18 and he has worked so hard in training, the running and the way he has worked with everything we have put on probably showed out there on Saturday.”
“After 70, 80 minutes, he still looked like he had got a turbo-charger in him, as did James Milner and a couple of the others.”
“You have just got a draw a line under where he has been and just judge him from now, now he has had a chance to put a foundation into his season, which he hasn’t had for three years.”
“I think you will see a different Damien Duff this season. There were signs of that on Saturday, but obviously, there is more to come.”
Duff, Shay Given, Charles N’Zogbia and Obafemi Martins have all been linked with a move away from the Tyneside club this summer, but Keegan is determined to retain the services of them all, including the Irishman.
Damien was storming down the wing on Saturday afternoon, looking every bit like his old self.
Keegan talked about Duff:
“There has been speculation about every one of our players, but I definitely want to keep him.”
“He is a good character around the place, he sets a good standard in training along with three or four of the other players.”
“They set the standards, they are the ones who do it right every day. Rain or
sunshine, it doesn’t make any difference to them.”
“We are very strong now in certain positions. Where Damien plays is where Gutierrez can play, where James Milner can play, where Charles N’Zogbia can play and where Geremi can play.”
“We have got five very good players competing for two-and-a-half places in the team.”
“We haven’t got that everywhere, so we need to address that and that is what we are trying to do.”
“It might look like not so successfully at the moment, but there is a long time to go and there will be plenty of opportunities.”
“If the right player comes along and we think he is right for Newcastle United, we will be in there pitching.”
A couple of good players coming into the club early this week, would be a tonic for the club and the fans, but we’ll not get our hopes up too much.
But we’ll be checking www.nufc.co.uk regularly tomorrow, that’s for sure.