We have no idea if Alan Smith is going to stay at the Tyneside club. but if he does Kevin Keegan thinks he can follow the example set by Damien Duff, to get himself back into the fans’ good books.
Â Alan Smith – do a Damien Duff says Kevin
Kevin was still enthusing about Duff’s performance on Saturday, when he looked like a new player for Newcastle:
â€œHe looked like he could run forever against Valencia and the goal he scored was probably not the sort of goal you associate with Damien Duff, a great towering header, really attacking the ball,â€
â€œHis fitness level is fantastic, heâ€™s really, really trained hard and Iâ€™ve just said to him, â€˜Youâ€™re now getting the reward for your training out on the pitch.”
“Thereâ€™s a chance with two or three players here that if we get them back where they should be fitness-wise, weâ€™ll have two or three new players within our squad.â€
One of those players is probably Charles N’Zogbia, who has looked extremely good in pre-season – wonder who the others are?
Smith seems fit enough apart from an ankle that is apparently a bit sore, but it’s all in his mond, as with most confidence based problems:
â€œUnder other circumstances you could be saying the same thing about Damien Duff at this point,â€
â€œYouâ€™re just two or three games away from turning everything around in football. Dufferâ€™s had a good pre-season, scored three goals at Hartlepool, another against Valencia and played very well.”Â “The solution is always mainly in the playerâ€™s hands and the manager helps.”
“Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™ll be doing with Alan Smith, as with any player who has had a problem with confidence or goes through a spell where theyâ€™ve not been playing much. Thatâ€™s our job. We can do that.â€
However, Keegan surprisingly refused to criticize the daft supporters who booed Smith when he came on for Oba Martins on Saturday:
â€œIâ€™m not going to try and tell this crowd what to do,â€
â€œItâ€™s a very knowledgeable crowd. Iâ€™m not going to tell them what they should see. I know one thing â€“ itâ€™s my job to see the good things and thereâ€™s a lot of them.â€
Keegan wants to keep Alan Smith, and as like any other player in his squad, he sees the challenge to somehow get the best out of the player, but it still looks like Alan could be on his way in the next 3 weeks.
â€œI definitely think thereâ€™s a lot more to come from Alan,â€ â€œHeâ€™s got a lot of desire. If he didnâ€™t have any desire Iâ€™d say youâ€™re wasting your time.”
“Iâ€™ve known lots of players turn themselves around, I know Alan will. Alan Smith is a Newcastle player and thatâ€™s it. What happens in the future, youâ€™ll be the first to know.â€
Kevin has said he is hoping for 3 players to come in this week, before the Man United game, but Coloccini, while still in Newcastle, hasn’t been announced as having joined the club yet.
One thing we have learned about the pending transfer since Saturday – Fabricio will not be getting a haircut.Â Kevin likes it and even compares it to how he had his hair in the 70s.
But these transfers seem to move at a snail’s pace, don’t they?
Let’s keep our fingers crossed about this week.