Steve McClaren talked about most things in the hour he fielded questions from fans on the Total Sport program on BBC Radio Newcastle last night at 6:00 pm local time.
And we were a little taken aback when he talked about Cheick Tiote who has hardly been seen in pre-season, and we had assumed he would be one of the players Newcastle would sell before the month is out.
Cheick Tiote in training earlier this summer
But not according to the head coach, who said this when Tiote’s name was mentioned last night:
“I know Cheicky very well.” “I want him fit and playing.” “I’ve seen him here and he had two great seasons.”
“I just remember one game against Man United and he was absolutely brilliant and that’s what he’s capable of doing.”
“We have to get him fit.”
Cheick played only 12 games for us last season and he picked up a (slight) knee injury when he played for Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations in January/February and never played again for Newcastle in that dismal second half of the season.an get the best out of the Ivorian.
Cheick still has two years left on his contract at Newcastle, and from what Steve has said you would think the 29 year-old will still be with us come September.
He has been a little unsettled over the last year or two at Newcastle, but things are a lot more settled now with Steve McClaren and the new coaching team in place – and they can get the best out of the Ivorian.
Steve McClaren coached Tiote for two seasons in Holland for FC Twente and they won the Dutch Championship for the first time in 2010.
After that Cheick signed for us for around £3.5M, after Chief Scout Graham Carr had been scouting him for a good few years..
Tiote is an experienced player who keeps picking up too many of those yellow cards – but he could still do a job for us next season.
What do you think?