There are stories coming out of the club this week that Cheick Tiote has been full of life since he returned to Tyneside, and resumed training earlier this week.
Cheick Tiote – in action at the African Cup of Nations
And the brilliant Ivorian midfielder has revealed how devastated he was at losing the African Cup of Nations under such unfortunate conditions, when Zambia won 8-7 after the first 14 penalties had been converted, including the very first one taken in the shoot-out – by Cheick himself.
And Tiote also told us he had given away his losers’ medal, and it looks like Cheick has been taking his frustrations out this week on some of his Newcastle team-mates.
This is what Alan Pardew said at his press conference today, when asked if Cheick had been adversely affected by his experience in the African Cup of Nations:
“It doesn’t look like it.” “He has kicked everybody so far, so I think he has got it out of his system this week.”
“One or two of our players have had to take the brunt of that. I think he will be all right by Saturday.”
Tiote will get a warm welcome back from the Newcastle fans at St. James’ Park on Saturday, as he showed his guts and courage in volunteering to take that first penalty for the Ivory Coast in that vital shoot-out.
Some players cringe and withdraw from the responsibility in those situations, but not Cheick Tiote.
And somehow we think the 28 times capped Ivorian could put in a sterling performance for Newcastle against Wolves – we hope so in any case, and if he does we should be able to get all 3 points.
The 25 year-old has already said he is very happy to be back among his friends on Tyneside, and remember this is the lad who didn’t want to move to Chelsea just over a year ago.
He was happy enough to sign a new six and a half year deal to stay on Tyneside, and he has again been in top form for Newcastle this season – and to think he cost only £3.5M 18 months ago.
And of course Newcastle will also have Yohan Cabaye and Ryan Taylor back on Saturday, in addition to Cheick, and Alan Pardew had this to say about the returning players:
“They are great players – one won the double last year in France, and the other almost won the African Nations Cup, but for a penalty shoot-out, so we are talking top players here.”
“They have proven that week in, week out for us, and I am delighted to have them back.” “It’s important that we put in a performance that justifies where we are in the division.”
“It does help that I have got some iconic players back, I can’t deny that, and they are all going to play.”
We’d be surprised if Alan doesn’t bring back all three of them back into the starting line-up, because Newcastle must get back to their winning ways, after the big hiccup in London 12 days ago.
Howay The Lads!!