NUFC new-boy Islam Slimani has promised to ‘fight’ to keep the club in the Premier League ahead of his potential debut at Bournemouth on Saturday, stating that points are more important to him than personal glory during his stint on Tyneside.
The former Sporting Lisbon striker has taken advantage of the two-day break Benitez has offered the players, returning to Algeria to be with his family and continue his return to fitness by training on his own.
The Leicester loanee arrived on deadline day, however a thigh injury has kept him out of the squad in games against Crystal Palace and Man Utd, leaving a few fans concerned as to when he’ll actually be ready to play.
Here’s what he’s had to say following his return from Algeria and ahead of his potential debut against Bournemouth this weekend:
“I like to play regularly. That’s what my aim is and that’s what I have always wanted to do,”
“I am going to fight for my place and be able to play as much as possible. Football is my passion and I want to show what I can do.”
“No matter who scores the most important thing is to win. Obviously, I want to get goals as quickly as possible but points come first. That comes before me scoring personally or personal glory.
@NUFC’s two-day break:
– Nostaglic Atsu flew to Portugal to watch Porto take on Rio Ave
– Kenedy happy enough with his start to life at the St. James’ Park to get 'another' tattoo
– Slimani – battling with a thigh problem – back in Algeria to train alone.
Picture via FAF pic.twitter.com/A6Z7KkyMPu
— Tolu Olasoji (@Tollexrism) February 19, 2018
Slimani then admitted that it is a ‘dream’ of his to play in the Premier League, stating that it will be a ‘very proud moment’ for him to play for Newcastle United:
“I played in Portugal first and I learned so much out there.
“It put me in good stead to come and play in the Premier League and I now feel ready.
“It is a big dream for me to play in the Premier League. For me and my family, it is a very proud moment to play for a club like Newcastle United.
“Everybody in Algeria is very, very proud of me. The people there are following my career.”
Fortunately, we didn’t look back on the games he’s missed wishing he was fit, with us picking up an impressive 4 points away to Palace and at home to Man Utd, however his presence in the side will give us a real boost and that added bit of quality in the final third.
I’ve got no doubt that he’ll be a considerable improvement on our current striking options, but what is also key is his willingness to work hard for the team and give his all. Not only does he sounds hungry to do well and give his all, but several Leicester fans have told me that he’s a striker who will throw his weight around and put in a shift for the team.
Here’s hoping he’s back to full fitness and ready to do the business at Bournemouth on Saturday. We have have momentum from the Man Utd win, but this will be a different test and his threat in the box could be the difference.