The player who has made an instant and indelible impression on Tyneside, since arriving from FC Twente in the summer, is Ivory Coast International Cheick Tiote.
Cheick Tiote – world class midfielder?
And it shows that Newcastle are doing something right in the transfer market, when they can pick up a player of Cheick’s caliber and ability for just £3.5M, and he’s already worth a lot more than that now.
We’ve heard former England boss Steve McClaren talk about what a great player Tiote is, and today another former England manager, Swede Sven Eriksson, now managing Leicester City, has waxed lyrical about the player he managed during the World Cup for the Ivory Coast last summer.
Eriksson believes Newcastle have unearthed a potentially world-class midfielder, and he told the Sunday Sun today:
“I have not been surprised how well he has done in England. He is so good that he could play in whatever team,”“I had him and he played all three games for Ivory Coast in the World Cup. The link with Michael Essien? Yes, I can see it a little bit. They are similar in their abilities.”
“He is a central midfielder and is extremely strong. And the best thing about Cheik is that he shows it every game and in every training session – he is consistent, he will never let you or any of his team-mates down.”
“The tackles he puts in are incredible and he is a ball winner. When he wins it he plays it very simply and is a good passer of the ball.” “He is a fantastic human being, absolutely first class. He is top,” “I am very happy for him because he deserves every success he has.”
“He works hard, he is a good, good person and it does not surprise me that Newcastle fans and the manager there like him so much. ” “To be honest I would like to buy him (for Leicester) but we can’t take him from Newcastle!”
Cheick missed the disaster last Saturday at Bolton, serving a one match ban for picking up 5 yellow cards, and his absence may have been one of the reasons Newcastle performed so poorly as a defensive unit.
He returns today in a couple of hours against Chelsea, and we have to hope Tiote gets Newcastle off to a good start this afternoon, with his biting tackles and untiring work in Newcastle’s central midfield.
If Newcastle ever needed a great performance from Cheick, it’s this afternoon at St. James’ Park.
Howay The Lads!!