Damien Duff had another excellent game this afternoon for Newcastle, and looked like he could (and did) run all day, and Kevin Keegan was quick to praise the Irishman.
Damien Duff – played great again today
Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan seemed delighted after the excellent win against Valencia this afternoon, at St. James’ Park.
We don’t usually see Damien Duff head the ball much at all, but what a stunning header he hit home after 77 minutes today, following a good Jonas Gutierrez corner.
And you could see Kevin on the line waving and saying something to Duff – probably just congratulations, but the Irishman has been a revelation in the summer.
We were calling for him to be sold a few weeks back, so he’s managed to prove us completely wrong with his brilliant displays in pre-season – and we love it. We were wrong about Duff – dead wrong.
It also shows you what a great character the man has – when things look their darkest he comes back with his best performances in a black and white shirt – good for him.
Kevin said after the game:
“Damien Duff has been terrific for us – you could be talking about seven goals pre-season.”“He’s been working very hard. It’s the first time he’s had a pre-season – and it shows. It looked like he could run forever.”
“The goal today is not the sort of goal you associate with Damien Duff but his fitness level is fantastic, he has really trained hard, and he is now getting his rewards.”
The goal said up a grandstand finish that had Newcastle looking for the winner which came when James Milner rifled home on 91 minutes from 6 yards.
Keegan said Duff, as well as many others in the team were “my type of players”, and cited Charles N’Zogbia, Oba Martins and new signing Jonas Gutierrez as examples.
Quite honestly the lads today ran their socks off, and while we mustn’t get too carried away – because Valencia are at least a week behind us in their training – there were dare we say it – signs that Kevin has woven his magic over a lot of the players out there today.
The team played like a Kevin Keegan team – full of action, enthusiasm and swarming forward all the time – just great to watch – it’s the way football was meant to be played.
There’s one thing that was obvious today – any team coming to St. James’ Park this season had better be fit – otherwise we’ll run them off their feet.
Of the Argentinian Gutierrez, Keegan said:
“He is a combination of ability and a big heart, and the Geordies love that.”
The crowd was a good one of 31,494 and Keegan continued:
“It was a really good pre-season game. They were a good side and showed their quality.”
“They were good on the ball and comfortable from back to front.”
“But they are maybe a week behind us in terms of preparation and we looked fitter as the game went on. We finished really strongly.”
Maybe it was because our expectations were so low, because of all the hassle going on in the press – but we were surprised at how good the team looked and played today.
Not only did they look really really fit, but the players were strolling the ball around beautifully.
If Kevin was right in January when he said we only need 3-4 top players – maybe we are closer to having a good team than we thought – we certainly hope so.
Certainly the lads today can be proud of their performances today and Keegan is obviously upbeat about the performance – and so he should be.
If this is a taste of what the team will serve up in future games – we just cannot wait.
But we know we cannot get carried away, and we’ll now have to see how we do in the real world of the Premier and European Champions at Old Trafford next Sunday.
That’s when the real test begins.