Sol Campbell played 45 minutes in last night’s 3-1 Newcastle Reserve team win at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland.
Sol Campbell – with his number 5 shirt
And Sol was glad to get that first half under his belt last night, as he seemed to stroll around handling the Sunderland forwards with ease.
He did admit though that for the first 10 minutes or so, he could feel it in his lungs, and when asked whether beating Sunderland was the best start he could have made to his Newcastle career, he told the Evening Chronicle today:
“I suppose it is.” “Any time you beat your rivals, it’s always nice!” “But the main thing for me is fitness and working out.”
“It’s good to get out there again because there is no substitute for playing games.” “There was a bit of bite out there, but you need that.”
“You need to get as fit as you can between games.” “There are no games for the first team at the moment and, after missing all of the pre-season games, this was perfect for me.”
With Fab Coloccini and Mike Williamson showing some fine form in the Newcastle first team so far this season, Sol knows he faces a fight to get his starting place on Tyneside.
And Campbell seems now fully fit to make that challenge, and he would like to be involved in our important home game against Blackpool, a week come Saturday, where a win would see Newcastle climb the Premier League table significantly.
“Hopefully I can be involved against Blackpool.” “I’m going to push for it.” “I’ve got another game next week and I will try to get at least 60 or 70 minutes out of myself.”
“I just have to keep on pushing and working really hard on the training field.” “Things are coming together.” “I’m feeling stronger and stronger, I’m just going to keep on building. I’m feeling really good, I’ve been training hard.”
“For the first 10 minutes of the game though I had to find my heart and lungs. Then, after a few minutes, I started enjoying it.” “It was a good workout, I needed games to get fit.”
“That was the first time I had played a game for three months, so it was good to get out there, feel my legs, run, tackle and get everything going. It was brilliant.”
Campbell was one of five good signings the club have made this summer, and certainly there’s little doubt the Newcastle squad has been strengthened by those acquisitions.
And it seems that Sol is already a big fan of Chris Hughton, whose star seems to be rapidly rising on Tyneside, as he plots Newcastle’s re-emergence into the Premier League.
Reflecting on the work done by Hughton and his staff in this summer’s transfer window, Campbell said:
“Chris and the staff have done a fantastic job.” “The gaffer has done brilliant with what he’s had.” “Now we just have to stay fit all season.”
And one last word for the Newcastle fans, as Sol knows all about Newcastle United and their legendary fan support, as he offered this to the faithful Geordie fans:
“They love their football. And I love my football as well, so this is a perfect match.”
If Sol Campbell can roll back the years a bit, and put in some solid games for Newcastle this season, then we could well finish above the relegation fray – and that’s what we are hoping for right now – a comfortable mid-table position come next May.
If the Newcastle side can do that, it will have been another hugely successful season – make no mistake about that.