Mark Viduka has managed just one start all this season at Newcastle, because of a troublesome Achilles injury which he had at this time last year, but it seems like the arrival of Alan Shearer on the scene, has revitalized the Australian.
Mark Viduka – 6 games to prove himself
Alan knows all about Mark’s capabilities when he is fit, but he seems injured all the time, and because of that, many Newcastle fans have given Mark up as a lost cause this season.
Alan talked about Mark this morning:
“I asked Mark ‘do you want to help play a part in us trying to stay up?’ and the answer was most definitely a ‘yes’,”
“I think it would have been a complete waste to just let him lie on the treatment table looking forward to going back to the beaches in Australia. That’s what his plans were this summer.”
“The big thing with Mark is getting him fit and keeping him fit. We have to try to manage that and treat him differently to the rest of the players in training.”
“It’s fair to say that Mark probably wouldn’t have played again this season if things hadn’t changed. So just having him available to play some part is great.”
“He was injured, not in a good condition and probably on his way to Australia this summer because talks hadn’t happened between himself and the football club. But he’s shown a great appetite to get us out of trouble which is what I’m looking for.”
Viduka’s return to fitness at the end of last season coincided with Kevin playing 4-3-3 and we got the best play we’ve seen from Mark, since he’s been at the club. He seemed to thrive in the 4-3-3 formation and scored some good goals for us too.
That’s what Alan Shearer will be hoping for this time around, and now Mark wants to play we’d be surprised if he wasn’t introduced as a sub on Sunday, to get him a little match fit.
“He’s had a decent weeks training and, all being well, he’ll be in the squad. It was around this time last season that he came back in, played with Michael and played a big part in pulling the club away from trouble.”
“If we can get something out of him between now and the end of the season it could be key. He’s shown a great attitude and pushed himself hard.”
“He travels with us to Spurs and hopefully he’s in the squad. He’s been in early every morning and does extra work every afternoon. It’s a fine balance of trying to get him fit without pushing him too hard.”
It is expected that Viduka would be let go in the summer, when his lucrative contract expires, but Alan has suggested he may need to look at Mark in the summer and see if he is worth a one year contract, which is exactly what Mark wants.
He could then play for Australia in next summer’s world cup, but the question would be how many games would he play for Newcastle in that time, and surely Mike Ashley would want to pay only for the games he plays.
“A one-year contract? That’s something we’d have to look at come the end of the season. I’ve said to Mark ‘look, we want you fit for the remaining games then we’ll see what happens after that’.”
“His injury needs managing, but the pleasing thing is he wants to try. He wants to give it a go. I don’t know whether anyone is ever 100% fit nowadays with the number of games you play and the pace of a match.”
“In a way, he will have to play through the pain barrier. We know it will be difficult to get him 100% after all his problems. But I’d rather have him available at 80% than not at all.”
That seems strange for a manager to talk about giving him a contract for next season, when Alan is only here for the next 6 games doesn’t it? 😀
Howays The Lads!!