It’s an important season for 20-year-old James Tavernier, who joined Newcastle from Leeds United in 2008, when he was just 16.
James Tavernier – in action in Athens against Atromitos
James has come on well over the last eighteen months or so, after he played 50 times in total out on loan at Gateshead, Carlisle United, Sheffield Wednesday and MK Dons.
He played the full game in Newcastle’s Europa League game in Athens, although he had a hard time of it at times against Denis Epstein, Atromitos’ best layer and goalscorer in that game.
But he will learn from that experience, and he came on for the last 30 minutes of the return leg at St James’ Park last Thursday night, and looked very solid.
James is very ambitious, and it’s good he signed a new contract in July, and his aim is to be a Newcastle starter, as he had this to say in the local press today:
“The main aim’s to get a starting eleven spot.” “I want to be a Premier League starter for Newcastle. That’s my aim, to work hard and give the manager a headache.”
“I’m waiting for my chance, and when the time comes, hopefully I’ll take it.” “I’m comfortable in all positions – left-back, centre-back and right-back.” “I’ll work hard in all the positions that I can play.”
“I’m ready to play wherever the gaffer wants me.” “It’s just a matter of getting my chance in the Premier League.” “We wanted to win the Atromitos game.”
“We only needed a goalless draw to get through, but we wanted to get goals.” “We achieved that with Haris Vukic’s good strike, and we’re through to the group stage now, which we’re really happy about.”
“That was the main aim, to have a really good pre-season and be in the frame to be in the manager’s thoughts for the European games, and the other games which might come up.”
“I’ve been involved twice now.” “Hopefully I’m still impressing and can be involved in more and more games.”
Tavernier is a little small to play in central defense, at half an inch over 5’9″ tall, but he’s half an inch taller than the great Italian captain and center back Fabio Cannavaro, who was a fantastic center-back.
And Fabio was the Player of the Tournament in the 2006 World Cup in Germany which Italy won, when they beat France 5-3 on penalties, after a 1-1 draw in the final – after extra time.
Alan Pardew has great expectations of the Bradford-born youngster, and we think James Tavernier will be fighting for a fist team starting position well before the end of this season.
We hope so in any case, and that’s good because Newcastle need some good young defenders coming through this season, and the sooner the better.
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